May 7, 2011


As I made my favourite ham and salad wraps for lunch today, I absent-mindedly popped the baby spinach leaves on top of the ham first, instead of leaving them until last, as per my usual method.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" I exclaimed.

As I moved the salad leaves to one side to insert the cheese and olives, I realised what I had just done.


I mean, how do you explain that? It's not like I was making the sandwich for someone else. I was alone in my house. Did I think I would offend the sandwich, by placing ingredients in a slightly different order?

Perhaps in this case it can be credited to tiredness, but still - it's a peculiarity of mine, this tendency to over-apologise in any given situation.

When people come to visit: "Sorry, the place is a mess!"

When giving people a lift: "Sorry, the car is small!"

When visiting the doctor: "Sorry about being sick!"

I think I've inherited it from my mother, but in the same way Isambard Kingdom Brunel exceeded the engineering achievements of his father Marc, I have far outstripped her efforts. You could say I have built the Great Eastern of apologetic habits.

"I'm sorry, rowers! And I'm sorry, North Atlantic ocean!"

People often become irritated with me over this habit, particularly when I end up apologising for something that I had no ability to control, predict or have any kind of impact upon.

The takeaway joint was closed: "I'm sorry we couldn't get sushi!"

An excursion is interrupted: "I'm sorry about the rain!"

Someone falls over: "I'm sorry for the Earth's gravitational pull!"

Perhaps it's a measure of my general insecurity. It's no real secret that I tend to beat myself up over many things. I've also developed a great paranoia about appearing "up myself". That any overt display of confidence in my own abilities will be interpreted as arrogance and roundly condemned. My own whipper-snipper brain slashes at the poppies before they even have a chance to grow tall.

It's not something I really know how to change. It just slips out before I even realise. Somehow I've come to expect everything to be my fault at least in some way that it's just easier to issue a blanket apology covering my general existence and inconvenient impact on the lives of others.

Of course, the biggest downside is that apologising for all the tiny, relatively unimportant matters takes away a lot of power from the "sorry" when it is required for use for larger, relatively important matters.

There's really only one person I should be apologising to, for putting them through such unnecessary flaggellation. And that - unsurprisingly at this point in the blogging narrative - is me.

Now I just have to work on my "forgiving" skills....


  1. And so you should, you monster. Spinach on top of ham? Oh, that poor, poor sandwich. I weep for this travesty of sandwich structure! We ALL weep for your hard-done-by luncheon. So tell us, Nat. Are you going to atone for your wrongdoing by preparing the perfect hot chocolate (with whipped cream AND marshmallows)? You really do owe it to that poor sandwich, you know.

  2. I'm laughing out loud at this because, well, I do it all the time. Just yesterday I apologized to a chair because I stubbed my toe on it....

  3. Little did she know the sandwich she apologised to was actually the 3 dimensional shadow of a 4 dimensional being. A being that was he'll bent on destroying the Earth to make way for its collection of Octobers (It's a 4 dimensional being. Time can be considered the 4th dimension... Funny and scientific... Sigh) but was so moved by her contrition it reneged on its plans of destruction and instead bequeathed us all a Month of Sundays (again.. 4 dimensional funnies.. Ah, forget it).

  4. KUDOS to you for mentioning the great Victorian Mans Man Isambard Kingdom Brunel. All women wanted him, all men wanted to BE him.

  5. I was going to argue that bit about all women wanting him (I didn't). But then I visited your link, and oh, how I want him! Most especially his braaaaaaaiiinnnnnzzzzz! And I wouldn't put spinach on top of them when I made the sandwich, either. I'm no monster.

  6. Perhaps, you were really 'sorry' for your response to such a trivial slight RE; sandwhich. As far as the percieved inconvenience of people you sincerely care about...What's wrong with recognizing your ability to emphathize. If you were insensitive wouldn't the world be a diiferent ball altogether?

  7. Where's your apology for raping the English language with your atrocious writing?

  8. My roommate said "bless you" when my cat sneezed. Then again, my cat is a living, breathing entity and a sandwich.. well.

  9. you apologized to a sandwich?? hahahahahaha that is very funny, I like your sense of humor! :D