It starts with the hint of a transgression:
Inadvertent, accidental, free from all aggression –
Oh, and we mustn’t forget to mention,
That this mild deed contains not even the merest hint of any
evil intention –
It ends with… The Apology.
For example, you’re in a crowded supermarket on a Saturday afternoon,
and a harassed
young mother with too many children has her attention temporarily
Oh, here we go again – an apology-incident is about to be not averted.
As she simultaneously shuts up one child with an as yet unpaid-for
biscuit whilst also perusing the boxes of mainly sugar on the children’s
One of the many mini versions of herself
Decides to stand in front of your trolley: gormless, statuesque and mute –
God, what is it about children that people find so cute? –
Anyway, you look around the aisle and see that, with the child blocking
your way, there’s not enough space for your trolley to get past.
You wait. And you wait. Until at last,
Just as you about to open your mouth to say,
“Madam, I believe that your captivating little munchkin wunderkind
appears to be blocking my way,”
She looks up from the dilemma which has been occupying her thoughts:
namely – Coco Shreddies or Curiously Cinnamon: which one would
And sees the mini-me tyke,
The cause of your trolley’s immobility;
The cause of your thoughts of infant-directed hostility.
She instructs her child to, “Move out of the way of the man.”
The child does, and now you can.
You start to move down the aisle.
Poor woman, you think, and offer her a smile,
Sympathy rising as you catch the weariness in her face, and the
tiredness in her eyes.
And as you pass her, of course… you apologize!
Every day brings a whole raft of reasons for regret:
As daily we repay our imaginary despondency debt.
Like… when someone mumbles and mutters so that you can’t
hear them –
Yet your ears work quite properly, and you’re standing quite near them,
Thus the fault of you not hearing them is theirs and theirs exclusively –
When you have to interrupt their flow just a little bit intrusively,
You do so with an apologetic, “Sorry? Sorry, what was that?
Sorry, I didn’t quite catch…?”
Sorry. Sorry! SORRY!!! SORRY!!!!
This phenomenon is a never-ending surprise:
The number of times per day which we English people think it is
necessary to apologize.
It matters not,
One single iota-sized jot,
Who is the perpetrator of whatever might have been the petty
An English person will offer you an apology every single time.
It is futile to try and understand the psychology
Of the sorry English and their fondness for the quite frankly pointless
and unwarranted apology.
So, I’m not even going to try.
You can apologise to me for that later.