Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sorry, Love, and Like

I love people who know when to apologize.  Now, I don't mean the garden variety heartfelt condolences for doing something awful.  We've all been taught how to do that even if we don't actually put it into practice.  On any given day, I probably owe at least fifteen people an apology that don't get it.  It isn't because I don't know better.  It's because I'm driving, I've made some kind of judgement in my mind that I obviously cannot apologize for without actually letting them into my head, or I don't know I've messed up until the moment has passed.  Most of the time I totally get over it...and assume that the lady I called a moron for pulling out in front of me while she was juggling her cell phone and her Labradoodle isn't obsessing over the fact that I blew my horn at her.

What I mean are people who just are who they are without apologizing for not living up to your expectations.  They don't say "oh, I'm sorry" every fifteen seconds instead of saying "excuse me."  They just carry on being who they are and assume that you are going to deal with it or move along.  It is actually quite refreshing.

I've worked with people in the past that are not morning people.  They just aren't.  There was one lady who wouldn't speak until noon.  If she was required to interact with you, it was not going to be pleasant.  I just learned that we could carry on a conversation at 2 p.m. and if I didn't press it...we'd be fine.  At first, I found working around this quirk of her personality unbelievably annoying.  But I also found that she was there every day when she wasn't on vacation, she never complained, and she got her work done.

And then I've been around people who apologize for possibly offending me for mentioning certain words (like "weight") or who are so concerned about everybody's feelings that I want to apologize to THEM for being boneheaded enough to engage them in conversation in the first place.  I'm seriously not that much of a "pleaser."

You see, I believe that the words "I'm sorry" should be reserved for those times when you actually are.  For all other times, their close cousins "pardon me" and "excuse me" work just fine. 

Of course, here in the South, we have a little skew on the word "sorry."  We'll use it as an adjective as in "he's a sorry excuse for a _____ (fill in the blank)" or "that is just sorry" meaning...trashy or unworthy.  Being called "sorry" is pretty in the same realm as "tacky" except that being "sorry" means that you don't do what you are supposed to do and "tacky" means that you did something in a way you weren't supposed to do it.  Subtle nuances, yes, but I guess not so subtle if you live in it all the time.  Which we do down here in the heart of Dixie.

So, the other definition of "sorry" notwithstanding, it is probably appropriate for us to limit our usage of the word "sorry" like we should limit our use of the word "love."  We throw these words around like because we are too lazy to choose the right one.  So, here are a few suggestions:

You don't love anything that can't love you back...certain humans notwithstanding.  Most women "love" chocolate, but let me assure you, it doesn't love you back.  Oh, it may stick to your hips for a decade or four, but that's not love...that's codependency.

You shouldn't say "sorry" for bumping into someone unless you want to stick around long enough to engage them in conversation as in "I'm sorry that you were inconvenienced that I was taking up the space that you wished to occupy."  Not going to say that?  Then try "pardon me" instead.  As in "pardon me for being in your way...you sorry sack of ..." See?  "Sorry" used properly. 

You cannot be "in love" with something and then be "in love" with something totally different fifteen minutes later.  Especially if it is "Auntie Anne pretzels" one minute and "Ozzy Osborne" the next.  It's just tacky.

I am a big believer in calling people out on this sometimes...like the person who says "I'msorryI'msorryI'msorry!" fifteen thousand times a day.  She's sorry for interrupting and she's sorry for repeating herself.  Sorry for barging in and sorry that her pen doesn't work.  Sorry that she just repeated herself again and sorry that you were disappointed.  Sorry.  Sorry.  I'm so sorry!  Really?  I think not.  I think that you are hyperactive, can't stand the existence of silence, and can't think like a rational adult.  But that's just my take on it.

Or the people who "love love love" something!  I'm kind of guilty of this one from time to time...especially if we are talking about Foo Fighters, the beach, or peanut butter fudge cake.  I suppose I could use "adore" or "exceedingly fond of" but it just sounds so Jane Austen.

Maybe if we stopped the overuse of "sorry" and "love" then they would mean so much more to us when we actually heard them.  It would be more like hearing things like "I have a present for you" or "someone sent you flowers" because, quite frankly, I can never hear those words often enough.

To hear "I love you" and to know that the person saying it really does is amazing.  Not as in "love ya, honey!" but more like "you are precious to me."  Or to hear "I'm sorry that I hurt you" instead of "sorry that I keep saying 'sorry'. Oops, I just did it again!" 

I'm over all of that like I'm over Britney Spears, McDonald's chicken nuggets, and Seventeen magazine.  Which is like...totally.

Don't get me started on the word "like."  If you are a female between the ages of 14 and 22, you like use the word "like" like every other breath.  Doubt me?  Listen up.  They use "like" instead of "um" for pausing between words.  It is like totally annoying.
I read an exchange the other day where someone kept saying "sorry" for various inexplicably rude things he kept saying.  The person who received the message was even more offended because of the flippant use of the word "sorry" in their exchange.  I wanted to say "you'll be sorry when she's no longer speaking to your sorry self."  Frankly, I hope she won't and that he is. 

I suppose that I should say that I hope that none of you are offended here, but if you are...I beg your pardon.  I'm not sorry, though, in either sense of the word.  I just think that we should be a little bit more careful with some of what comes flying out of our mouths that we are too - like - lazy to actually think about.  I just know that I want people to trust my words...so I want to hold some of them for occasional use so that they retain their power.

And I'm not talking about what I almost called that lady in the drive-thru who couldn't decide between combo #1 and a salad, either...or maybe I am...

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