Apologies are interesting things. I am familiar with giving them, I'm human and I make mistakes. I'm always careful with my words, I know that apologies matter and I know that for any kind of reconciliation they have to be sincerely meant. Years ago I read a witticism, "This job requires sincerity, once you can fake that, you've got it made." We all know, and most of us detest, insincere apology.
The apology I dislike the most:
I'm sorry that you were offended.
Apologies that place the blame on the recipient annoy the heck out of me. But I have a new one to add to the list.
Over at the mall, I was rolling around in my power chair. A handsome man, with a body he liked showing off in a tight tee shirt, saw me pull around a corner. He burst out laughing when he saw me and then pointed me out to someone that he was with. They, too, laughed. This is not uncommon for me, for those who have mixed meanness with sense of humour, I'm a perfect target. They saw that I saw them, it didn't matter.
Days later we were back in the mall but I was in my manual chair. I was pushing myself around, stopping and looking in shops and doing what one does in a mall. Joe and I had separated when he headed for the bathroom. I saw him up ahead coming towards me so I sped up and was pushing fairly hard to get to him. I rolled by the handsome, slightly cruel man, on my way. He called out to me to stop. I was startled, but I did.
He came to me, smiling, friendly now. He said that when he saw me in the chair he imagined that I was another lazy disabled person but now that he saw me in my manual chair and pushing myself independently and quickly he realized he had made a mistaken assumption. He stressed how impressed he was by my speed. So, he apologized for his behaviour.
"So it's okay for you to laugh and make fun of some people, because they deserve it, and others don't?" I asked, seriously interested in his answer.
His face hardened and he said, "I apologized, okay."
That was the end of our conversation.
I don't like apologies that come with the suggestion that it was wrong to be rude or mean or cruel to me because don't belong to a class of people who deserve it.
Apologies are supposed to involve some reflection aren't they?
I had thought so.