Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Liar, Liar: my experience with polygraph

As I mentioned last week, I had a do a polygraph. I still haven't heard the results, but I can only guess how they went.  The instructor assured me that I would decide the outcome of the polygraph, but there are many problems with that theory so I'm just happy no one has arrested me.  Yet.

Not that I have done anything really wrong.  Well, REALLY wrong. You don't know what kind of a horrible person you are until you have to really think about it and then spill it all for a stranger.  Then you are surprised with yourself that you haven't done hard time before.

I went into the building expecting the worst. Surprisingly enough, it was worse than that. I was coming down with a cold (and then pink eye!) but I hadn't slept well that night.  This is not surprising. I spent over a decade making sure I could stay up all night. When I have to be somewhere before noon, my body makes sure it is NOT TIRED AT ALL. But, I knew it was my only chance and I wouldn't sleep any better if we rescheduled.  In I went.

Untitled
This has nothing to do with anything. Isn't it pretty?
The procedure for this test is to fill in a 31 page questionnaire prior to attending. It questions everything you have ever done that is wrong, illegal, immoral, or a mix of all three.  Then, you stew about and remember even more. When you enter the polygraph area, you then sit down with the administrator and go over it all again.

In detail. With examples. And you spill.  EVERY. LITTLE. THING.  All those things you wanted to keep secret? You don't.  All those things you are embarrassed about? You tell.  All those things you didn't realize were actually crimes? You admit to doing all the time.  You talk and talk and talk. AND TALK.

This part was 6 hours. Every time I answered a question, he would ask "What else?" which made me think he knew something that I didn't, so I would rack my brain trying to think of something else I had done. Usually he moved us on, realizing that despite some of my escapades, I am essentially boring. But I told everything. EVERYTHING. And you know? It wasn't that hard.

The guy was very likeable though intense. He admitted to hearing so many confessions as part of his job that nothing surprised him or embarrassed him. He also admitted he would not likely remember anything I said for very long, so should we meet in the hallway I don't have to duck behind a potted plant. This I took as a good sign.

leaves
These leaves represent every thing I told.
Finally, the hook up. It took about 5 minutes to get the contraption settled on my body and ready to read my every movement. It measured heart rate, breath rate, blood pressure, etc. My hand was numb before we even started, but that was normal. And then, the questions.

Other than what I had admitted to [in this area] did I do anything else?

That and a handful of test questions repeated over and over and over again. By this time, I was tired. Hungry. Annoyed. Exhausted. And honestly? BORED. I have never had to talk about myself that long before. Honestly, I love to talk about myself. Just ask me!! But I felt like, if I had to answer another damn question again, I would go mental.  But I did it. And the longer I did it, the more paranoid I became that I was forgetting something or that it would read my nervousness and boredom and exhaustion.

Half an hour later, he asks if I neglected to tell him something. Nope. Not at all. Was I thinking about anything during the questions on [insert topic]? NO!!! Of course not! I mean, had it been about homicide, I might have wondered if thinking actually DID count for something, but that? No.

Well, I "blipped" on one part. The one part I know I had nothing more to share.  The one part I know I had nothing to admit to. And that was the one I blipped on. We left it there, him telling me he would send my results to HR. That was it.

I left the room and was escorted to finger printing. The wonderful man who took my prints (and also was like the Jolly Giant) asked if I was okay. I said I wasn't really sure. He let me in on a secret - most the women burst into tears as soon as the polygraphist left the room. I admitted, I was waiting for when I got to my car. I was a nervous wreck, but it was that gentle, HUGE man who made me centre again. I owe him a drink for that.

So, I haven't heard anything yet. I expect I will eventually. Unless they have decided I'm a hardened criminal. And then, I might hear the slamming of metal doors.

31 comments:

  1. you can't be awesome without breaking a few rules. And you, are really fricken awesome

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    1. Thanks. I am fricken awesome. It's important people know that.

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  2. Always reward someone who gets you back your centre.

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  3. Oh my goodness. I adore reading your posts, which surprises me because I so rarely gravitate towards talk of polygraphs :). You have such a vivid way of describing things, I felt like I was there. I love how your post ended. I hope you hear something soon.

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  4. No matter what the polygraph says, You. Are. Awesome!

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  5. Thanks, Carol. Apparently, the poly is a big jerk.

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  6. Haha I loved reading this and I agree with Amy - I totally felt like I was in the room with you.
    I cannot imagine talking about myself for hours so hats off to you! I'll be waiting for the good news.

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    1. Raine, thank you! That is so sweet. I wish I had good news for you, but apparently I did not do well so no job for me!

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    2. What?!?! Because of that one blip? Gah, chin up. Something more awesome is in store for you.

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  7. Wow, what an experience! Glad you got out of it unscathed!!!

    Cheers!

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    1. Anne, exhausted, but unwounded! I'm glad I will never do it again!

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  8. Well, that sounds truly horrendous. You are definitely a strong person (I could never, ever do all that for any reason).

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    1. I have no problem telling the truth. However, the truth is sometimes not all it's cracked up to be. I hope, Nadine, you never have to do it for any reason!!

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  9. You have piqued my curiosity here in Montreal ( land of the polygraph lol )
    WHY???
    Those photos are beautiful !!!
    Hugs,
    Suzan

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    1. Polygraphs are used to weed out the undesirables I guess, Suzan. Though they are not reliable, they are used a lot. Thanks for the compliment on the photos! I am not as talented as some, but I enjoy them!

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  10. That's so crazy. I would totally freak out and it would look like I was lying about everything.

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    1. Mara, that's exactly what I did!! I freaked out and messed the whole thing up. Oh well, it was a great experience and a fun blog post!

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  11. Six hours?!!? I don't know if I could do that without crying during the polygraph (and I'm sure that would look awesome).

    And what would I admit to? I don't think I have six hours of stories! What does that say about me?!?

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    1. I'm sure you would have lots to say, Tara! You're probably a way worse person than you think! ;)

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  12. Crazy process! I once had to be a witness for a marriage annulment and after the priest questioned me for an hour I felt terrible and wanted to run out of there. Thank goodness it all worked out for my friend because I was afraid I had messed the whole thing up by saying the wrong things. Hope it works out for you!

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    1. Shauna, I think witnessing for an annulment would be WAY more stressful! I can't even imagine!!

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  13. My husband has had to do them a couple of times so I have seen the questionnaire - it's intense. I remember thinking...."Crap, I have stole a pen from work before" - it's funny what sticks in your brain. I am sure I'd fail. haha (he passed!)

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    1. Kelly, your husband must be a saint. Mother Theresa couldn't pass that polygraph. I have no idea how I'm so terrible a person, but I guess I really am. And I'm kind of okay with that!

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  14. Wow, sounds traumatic! Not sure I would like to go through that process. Great that you can keep a sense of humour!

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    1. Thanks Dani. Most days? My sense of humour is all I have. That and adult acne.

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    1. Thanks, Terri Lynn. Wish it had turned out better, but it was certainly an entertaining experience.

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  16. Oh, glad you made it though okay - 6 hours wow!!

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    1. Heather, 6 hours was just the questionnaire! There was another hour of the actual hook up to the machine. It was an ordeal!!

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