Saturday, 3 March 2012
On Saturday morning I was woken up at 9am by the sound of extremely loud banging, smashing and sawing. It turned out my neighbour had a team of builders round, ripping up the floorboards.
Of their *terraced* house.
On a Saturday.
...Don't worry, this blog isn't just going to be me moaning about my neighbours - although while we're on the subject, one of them recently came home at 1:30am (on a weekday) so plastered that they couldn't remember how to get into their house. So they just sat on the lawn wailing. I had to get out of bed and let them in. I eventually got back to bed at 2:15am. I get up for work at 6am.
Anyway, as cathartic as this is turning out to be, I'm getting off the point. Back to the floorboards anecdote which triggered this blog on the subject of the word 'sorry'.
This is the fourth time my neighbour has done heavy duty DIY early in the morning at the weekend. The personal best being the time they took a power drill to the adjoining bedroom wall at 6am on a Sunday.
Each time, they would catch me in the street the next day, grinning widely and say "Sorry about the noise, sorry!"
And then they'd go ahead and do it again. Just like today.
'Sorry' doesn't seem to mean what it used to. It's tossed around disingenuously so often these days that it may now have actually ceased to mean anything at all.
Let's take what I call the 'London Sorry' as an example.
Every day I commute into London and every day about half a dozen people have cause to say sorry to me. Trouble is, they're usually saying sorry for something they did wilfuly, deliberately, and with their eyes wide open to the negative consequences it would have on me.
The typical scenario is the narrow pavement which fits two people, if those two people stick to their side of the pavement, however the self-important businessman barrelling towards me wants the whole thing for himself - and why not, he's fuck-awesome after all. He makes eye contact with me, he sees me, he doesn't adjust his trajectory or speed and bang, I'm forced to walk in the gutter, get my shoes wet in the muddy puddles that lurk there and hope a bus doesn't come by and take me out. And as he whisks past what do I hear wafting back to me?...."Sorry!!!"
How the fuck are you sorry? Sorry for what? The inevitable consequences of your deliberate actions?
'Sorry' nowadays just seems to be something that rude and boorish people say to draw a line under a selfish act. Put simply, it's just a thing you say after being a dick innit?
Take last week, a man got on the train and sat opposite me. My feet were well over on my side, but he fancied a bit more room, so he proceeded to move and kick his feet further and further forward until my feet were forced under my seat and my legs were contorted backwards. He then decided he didn't have enough room to read his paper either, so he rested it on the front of his knees and used my legs as a tray table.
When I looked at him sternly, shook my head and said "You are joking?" he removed his feet and paper from my space in an instant, and then he said..."Sorry"
The immediacy with which he put everything right just showed that he knew he was being a twat and he knew exactly what actions to take to stop being a twat.
He was just chancing his arm, hoping that my good old British sense of embarrassment would prevent me from saying anything and that he could have some extra space. Again, definitely not sorry.
It's the same with celebrities who get exposed for making racist remarks or MPs who get caught committing criminal acts. They just have to issue a full and frank apology and all is ok. Even though everyone knows that they're only sorry because they got caught. Nothing's changed. One's still a racist and the other's still a crook. But it's over and done with now, they said "sorry".
Sorry has been reduced to a PR exercise. A ritual gesture. Nothing more.
So, I move that the word 'sorry' be banned from the English language henceforth. That way, people will have to say something else in its place. The truth perhaps:
"Fuck you, I just want more legroom"
"It's nothing personal, I'm just extremely inconsiderate"
"My parents never taught me any manners and I'm stupid"
"I hate all women"
I don't know about you but I'd much prefer that to a limp, empty "sorry".
Oh and if you didn't enjoy this blog then sorry...oops! I mean, fuck you all.
See? It's the way forward!