I’m So Sorry…

Lessons in Apologies

Sometimes I can have a single thought and I have a post. Other times (like now) it might be something that I thought of , noted myself to “get on that soon”, and then eventually get around to doing.

This whole thing got started a few weeks ago. I was at my convenience store getting my drink on the way home. (Have you noticed the fountain drink station at QuikTrip is like an epiphany for me?) Another woman arrived at the station just before I did. A perfectly pleasant-looking woman. She got her ice, and started filling up with DietCoke.  I feel at this point, I should point out that she had done nothing that I took issue with. She used the right ice, she was filling up with the right beverage, and she had not dawdled in any fashion. Nor did she smell or look bad; there was simply nothing amiss.

I was standing back enough that there was no personal space invasion and I can state this emphatically because I actually thought of this: nothing in my body language displayed the slightest offense about anything. About 2/3 through her fill-up, she glanced behind her at me and “I’m sorry’ed” me.

I have no idea in the world why. Was she apologizing to me for keeping me waiting ? Was she apologizing for taking the choicest molecules of DietCoke? Or was it the simple fact of her existence?  I’ve thought of this momentary encounter over and over. I have even discussed it a time or two. Odd, since I normally will not share my “I want to blog thoughts” before I write them. Since that moment, I’ve paid attention to my own behaviour, and from time to time, I am also guilty of “crimeless apologies.”

I see this as more of a trait of women than men. I’m not making any generalizations about manners in men. In fact, some of the most thoughtful caring people I know are men.  I almost want to conjecture that it is, in fact, an apology for our existence when we apologize for nothing.  Perhaps men just tend to be more secure in their entitlement to take care of their business. A man just isn’t going to apologize to me for getting a DietCoke if he was clearly and fairly there first. That I have to wait is just the way it goes.

When I got home that first afternoon, I surfed around on a google search of “apology.” I found the link “How to Apologize.” Apologies for real hurts to people who matter was not  exactly where I started, but what the hell?  I am fighting very hard with myself to refrain from quoting the Chicago song. And I think with effort…I may have won.  It is hard, though. I get it, trust me.  But this page is unbelievable. I think it is meant as serious.  And it astounds me, frankly.

Eleven steps. A video. Tips on body language. Are you fucking kidding me? Every time I think of the “crazy drink lady” apologizing to me, I wonder who has actually used this page. And furthermore, it seems to me that if they *need* this page, why would they bother trying to apologize anyway?  As far as I’m concerned, it should be as easy as “I care about ____. I have/may have caused some discomfort in their world and I want to acknowledge/fix it.”

Like I said, I understand that sometimes it’s just not that easy in the *doing*. I am not even going to go into the reasons why it’s much harder. WE ALL KNOW.  But the motivation should be just that easy. If  it’s not, I’m not sure why you would bother apologizing anyway. And perhaps I should spend more time considering the reasons to apologize before I offer one for paying for my drink with 5 quarters instead of currency ?







~ by Layla on November 7, 2009.

One Response to “I’m So Sorry…”

  1. Maybe she was Canadian? ;p

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