Friday, October 26, 2012

I Apologize for Over-Apologizing!

While I have ranted about over-thankyou-ing in the past, I realize I have  left a another syndrome unexamined. This is because I, myself, suffer from it and while I don't wish to cast further aspersions on my already, highly compromised persona, I am hoping that honesty may lead to a cure.

I am referring to too much apologizing.

I know I am not alone. I suspect this syndrome predominates among women since many of us were raised with the subconscious training to be mollifiers, to make people feel better...even total strangers.

Case in point: "Susan Says..." visits her local Christmas Tree Shop....

Many of you are familiar with this chain of wonderlands where you can walk out with a smile -- for less than a twenty -- as well as a large bag of Chinese manufactured crap for which you have no earthly need but fulfills that pesky chasm deep in your soul that can only be appeased by material things.

I go every few weeks when the despair within has sufficiently accumulated and the demons need to be dispelled.
Happiness comes cheap at the Christmas Tree Shop
In the very full parking lot, right next to where I parked my car, there were several empty shopping carts. Now I had nothing, whatsoever, to do with this blockage of a perfectly good parking spot but when a car tried to pull in and the passenger popped out to move the carts, I smiled and said, "I'm sorry..."

"Oh, that's okay, " was the response I received.

Now, not only did I feel sheepish for having felt the need to apologize for something that had nothing to do with me but now I was furious that this person excused me instead of grabbing me by the front buttons, looking directly in my eyes and shouting, "Don't apologize, you ninny! This was not your fault."

Fast forward less than a half hour later. My items are being scanned at the checkout when suddenly one of them will not go through. It has a sticker and a bar code but the computer will not accept it.
Aware that the line behind me is growing, I start to hear the tuts, tsks and clucks of what could soon easily become an angry mob.

The cashier, sensing the potentially incendiary situation on her line, is frantically typing in numbers by hand but that didn't work. She finally has no choice but to use the hot line by the register that broadcasts humiliating pleas like "Price check needed on paw print cat blanket, aisle 6!!!!"

As the crowd steadily became more restless, women buying ceramic snowman planters and seasonally themed nesting cosmetic bags are thinking things like "This crazy witch doesn't need a &*$%# paw print blanket!! Why doesn't she just put it aside so we can get on with our lives?!" I could feel their communal disgust, their shared hope that I would abandon  my purchase in order to avoid an insurrection.

But I wanted that damn blanket.
The actual blanket

It was just soft and squishy enough to lure the cats away from the good chair and, besides, it was only $5.99!

I resisted the urge to apologize to the mob simmering behind me.

Still stinging from the cart incident in the parking lot, I reasoned that someone should be apologizing to me for this inconvenience as well the roughing up I might receive from the hostile crowd of young mothers wearing baby slings and middle aged matrons shopping on their lunch hour.


And then the woman behind me, who had already painstakingly unloaded all her crap right behind my crap, swept it back into her cart and huffed away.

I cracked.
I'm sorry!!

Shouting after her, "I am so sorry!!. " I found that I couldn't stop: "I'm sorry if I inconvenienced you...I'm sorry the polar ice caps are melting...that the coral reefs are eroding...that it may have rained on your birthday...that your mother had a difficult labor...that Val Kilmer has put on so much weight...that those 100 calorie snack packs are so unsatisfying...that Friday Night Lights was cancelled...that Destiny's Child broke up! I am so sorry!!!!!"
I am so sorry!!

By this time, the price check woman, grim and efficient in a navy smock, had come by and given the cashier a new code. My paw print blanket rang up for a dollar less than expected and I left...emotionally drained but happy.

I am going to try to control my apologetic impulses in the future. Wish me luck.


  1. Yes, I do think it's a women's issue. I do the same thing and want to stop! I am so sorry!!!

  2. I never do this. You women are nuts.

  3. If you figure out how to make it stop - let me know will you? PLEASE! XO

  4. Personally, I've found that when I'm about to make an unwarranted apology if I just beat myself with a coat hanger about the face and neck I usually lose the urge.