Sorry Elton John. Sorry Blue. And sorry to whoever else might have covered this song, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you on something.
Yesterday, whilst in work, I happened to walk up the stairs at the same time as someone was coming down.
This happens often, I work in a large office full of a wide range of different businesses so it stands to reason I’ll pass someone on the stairs at some point. Now, I know there’s an Old Wives Tales which says if you pass someone on the stairs then you’ll be on the receiving end of bad luck, but Jesus wept, I don’t have time to be waiting at the bottom or at the top for someone to mooch their way past me so I can get to my destination. I’m a busy woman don’t you know.
So anyway, back to yesterday, I’d been out for a cigarette (yeah I know I was supposed to have quit) and was just making my way back up to my office when I happened to cross paths with a lady on the stairs. “Sorry” she muttered to me as we passed each other. Now normally, I wouldn’t think twice about this. I’d just carry on walking, probably thinking about what I was going to have for my tea/wear out tonight/is my son going to throw a tantrum when I get home from work. You know, the menial sorts of thoughts we all have. However, yesterday, I must have been in something of a philosophical frame of mind. It doesn’t happen often.
Why did the lady say sorry? I thought. What’s she sorry for? She didn’t know I was going to walk past her on the stairs. She didn’t do anything wrong, she wasn’t breaking the law. She was just someone trying to get somewhere at the same time as me.
I then thought about the times I’ve opened a door at the same time as someone who happens to be on the other side of said door. I say sorry, they say sorry, we have a laugh (despite it being anything but funny) and then we go about our business.
BUT WE’RE NOT BLOODY SORRY ARE WE??!!!
If I happened to break a belonging of someone’s then of course I’d say sorry. Apologising would be the right thing to do. I would be seeking their forgiveness and would want them to know I regret what has happened and I appreciate how they might be feeling.
I’m not, however, sorry for being in a blameless situation where I’ve gone for a door handle at the exact same time as someone else.
When I break it down like this, it all seems so ridiculous. In all honesty, it might seem ridiculous to you that I’ve even decided to write about it. But, it makes me realise that the word ‘sorry’ has seriously lost its meaning. It’s now just a word that is potentially used all too frequently.
Thus, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.
I have made a promise to myself. For 30 days, I am going to be mindful of the word sorry. I am going to (try) use the word sorry only when I mean it.
If I’ve offended somebody (I like to think that doesn’t happen often, but who knows) and they make me aware of this fact then I will use the word sorry. If I think it’s justified.
If I’ve broken something that belongs to someone (highly likely, I’m a total klutz) then I will say sorry. An apology is totally required in that scenario.
I’m not, however, going to say sorry if I happen to pass someone on the stairs. I’m not going to say sorry if I’m really not sorry.
I like words to have meaning. I like to mean what I say and I like to think I come across as a sincere person. If I’m apologising to someone, I want them to know I mean it.
So, in the spirit of Stoptober (yeah I know it’s about giving up the fags), I’m going to curtail my incessant use of the word sorry. I’m going to stop saying sorry when I’m not, which means Blue & Elton John, my apology at the beginning of this blog has been retracted. I didn’t mean it when I said sorry.
This could be an interesting month, I may not have any friends left come the beginning of November but we’ll see!
But, are you REALLY sorry Dunc?