I’ve never had a problem with the word ‘sorry’. I said sorry when I smashed a wine glass at Dave & Alex’s house one New Year’s Eve, sending tiny shards across the living room (as well as the glass’s copious red contents). I said sorry when I forgot both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the same year, although the emotional scars of guilt still remain. And I said sorry on a flight to Manchester once, when I accidentally poured a tomato juice over the beige chinos of the bloke sitting next to me.
Sorry never was the hardest word.
But sorry suddenly seems to be the word that I use more than any other. Given that I’m still not exactly sure about the precise vagaries of day-to-day life in this country, I find myself constantly making mistakes. When I go to push myself through the subway entrance, I push the wrong way, blocking the person behind me. When I write a press release, I use the word ‘honour’ rather than ‘honor’ to the confusion of all around me. And if I order a lunch delivery, I never know which slip to sign or which to retain, and have to look forlornly for someone around me to take pity on the foreigner.
Each time I make a mistake, a quick ‘sorry’ seems to get me out of trouble. But from the way I shrug my shoulders and pull a Wallace & Gromit-esque look with my mouth, I think it’s pretty clear when I say sorry that I am actually saying something along the lines of “I’m so sorry that you have been forced to come into contact with a bumbling British fool who still doesn’t know his dimes from his nickels, and leaves his trolley in the wrong place in the supermarket.”
The more I say sorry, the more I feel like some kind of Hugh Grant figure, foppishly apologising for anything and everything just in case it’s my fault. The woman who accidentally barged into me as I walked out of a shop earlier today had barely had time to register what had happened before I had said sorry for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the Ministry of Defence had a sorryness alert system, I would currently be on red – a defcon one of apologeticism, if you will. I might even say sorry for using the word ‘apologeticism’ in a blog entry, if you’re lucky.
If ever I didn’t say sorry to you for something terrible that I did, now is the time to seek closure from me. Whether it was my fault or not, an apology is yours for the taking. All you have to do is ask.