Have you ever faked it? I fake it all the time. It's just easier and it helps to get me out of an awkward situation.
I'm talking about the pretend phone call from your imaginary friend whom seems to call when you're walking past a charity worker on the street. The one that for some reason does all the talking whilst you mainly agree or disagree and 'uh uh'.
It's that friend that conveniently rings right as you're avoiding the guy at the bar who unfortunately doesn't understand personal space or dental hygiene.
My favourite time to fake it over the phone and my most frequent use of the 'Fake Phone Call' is when I'm lost in London. I know the city pretty well or at least I like to look as though I do. As Jarvis Cocker said, 'everybody hates a tourist', but everybody hates looking like one more.
So when I'm google mapsing my way around town and find I'm heading in completely the wrong direction I simply whip my phone up to my ear and stop suddenly in the street.
Oh hi, yes I'm on way! Oh... Ok... So you want me to meet you at that other place?... Ok.... Well I'm glad you rang because I was about to walk in completely the wrong direction! (Here is where I turn around) Ok... Ok... I'll see you in ten.
A brief chuckle to myself I hang up. An oscar winning performance and I'm heading in the right direction. The whole charade took less than a minute and I still look super cool... to anyone who noticed and wasn't themselves stuck in google maps, or indeed a tourist.
But the fake 'I'm going the wrong way phone call' is small potatoes. The 'Fake Phone Call' can save you from a bad date, an annoying neighbour and has been known to rescue one from a chance encounter with one's ex boyfriend.
So I'm waiting for a bus, which is a low point as it is, when I turn and see that joining the back of the bus queue is Daniel.
Daniel and I had around 7 or 8 perfect dates around a year ago. We'd gotten to the stage where he'd seen me with my hair up and only minimal make up. We we're in fact once in that grey area where we were 'seeing each other'. Then the grey area went pitch black. He stopped calling me, returning my messages and after around 3 weeks of obsessing I wrote him off as an 'A hole'.
I heard from him once the Christmas after. A message acknowledging that he owed me an explanation and telling me that he'd been going through a "bad time". I sent the obligatory short flat 'I'm over you' text, and that was that.
Except it wasn't. Of all the bus stops in town he had to queue at mine.
Panicked by the awkward prospect of a conversation underlined with rejection and the possibility of a new girlfriend, I employed the 'Fake Phone Call'.... For around 20 minutes!
I stood there spouting all sorts of make believe to what I hoped would come off as a chatty male caller. The fictional conversation spanned dinner plans, a cinema trip, and of course mentioned how well my work was going.
Eventually I had to get onto the bus. I knew that at any moment I would have to say hello. And I did. But not before telling the empty phone line, "Oh hold on a minute, I've just seen someone I know!" (TO NO ONE!)
Daniel sat down next to me and waited patiently for me to get off of the phone to Mr Nobody. I even turned to him a couple of times and gave him the 'sorry just a moment' finger and did the 'he can talk for England' eye roll.
Eventually I got off the phone. It turns out I'm not only a coward, I'm also a bitch.
His Mother had died, he really had been going through a bad time. He wasn't an 'A hole'.
The 'Fake Phone Call' had saved me from what I thought I needed saving from, but the truth was, I should have listened to what was really going on.
Faking it can get you through but perhaps avoidance isn't always the best policy. Perhaps without our phones world hunger would be solved and we'd meet a lot more strangers when looking for the nearest tube.