Tuesday, February 04, 2014

So, So Sorry

Early this afternoon I found myself on the campus of Mansfield University. Somewhere I hadn't been in a very long time. My reasons for being there were two-fold: First, I wanted to confirm that a $4,000 balance they errantly claimed existed on my account four years ago was in fact errant, thus allowing me to get my transcripts. Second, I wanted to catch up with an old adviser I hadn't talked to since I suddenly and mysteriously disappeared in 2009. Happily, both were successful.

While walking across the campus, I noticed a number of changes, but one thing struck me in particular: There seemed to be many more attractive women there than there had been when I was a student. This led to some amount of speculation on my part as to why this would be, and I was actually about to post something about it on Facebook. Then, as usually sometimes happens, I fortunately realized that no matter how I worded it, the post would likely come off as offensive, insensitive, and generally contradictory to everything I believe is important.

And then I thought that, if I did post it, I would probably have to delete it, and then post another status apologizing for it, as I sometimes see other people do after they have had some lapse in discretion. Something like:

"I'm sorry for my previous status. I wasn't thinking, and I'm terribly sorry to anyone I offended."

And then I had the thought: What if I were to just post an apology, without ever posting the thing that it was for? What would people think I had said? How would they react? Would they attribute it to something I actually had posted that I didn't think could even be construed as questionable, but it turns out they did? Would they assume that I had said something much worse than what I was even considering saying?

It really kind of makes me want to try it just to see what happens.

But then I had yet another thought: What if I were to expand this to real life and my interactions with people in general? Basically, what if I just started pulling people aside and making vague but leading apologies for things that never actually happened?––and then seeing how they react. I think I may try it.

"Guys, I just really wanted to apologize for what I said about you all to the group the other day. I didn't mean it at all. I was just really angry and not thinking. I hope we're all still friends."

"Hey I'm really, really sorry about your dog, Sarah, I just have this problem with animals touching me and I lost control for a minute. I hope it feels better already."

"Thank you guys so much for picking up my bill back there. I had no idea my cards were all maxed out and I'm sorry for putting you all in that situation, but anyway, it was really cool of you."

"Hey, Tom, I'm really sorry about the thing that happened with your car. I just wasn't paying attention out there. If insurance doesn't cover you just let me know, okay!"

"Jill, I'm so, so sorry about last night. I know we'd both had too much, but that's no excuse and it was all my fault. I took things WAY too far, and it was terribly inappropriate and too soon. I hope you can forgive me."

Or maybe I won't.

It's tempting though.

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