Monday, April 15, 2013

Pushing Buttons

I was waiting for the elevator. I'm in a nice part of town. The stores are expensive, the air perfumed with the slight tang of money. We shop here because it's close and because we feel it's our duty to bring down the tone of places like this. I had pushed the up button and she had pushed the down button. I was heading to the shops upstairs, she was heading to the car park downstairs. When her elevator arrived first I joked, like I often do, "You won!" She laughed, a tinkle, and stepped on and said, "you'd think my being able to walk was winning enough." I sat there stunned watching the door slowly close. Suddenly I saw some fingers come round the end of the door, breaking it's motion and sending it back open.

She stood there and looked shell shocked. She started talking very quickly. Here's what I got from what she said ...

"I'm sorry.

I was just trying to make a joke and instead said something very stupid and very rude.

In my head it sounded like a good comeback.

Out loud it sounded insensitive and cruel.

I'm not that kind of person.

I was just trying to crack a joke.


If I made you feel badly, I'm sorry.

I don't think that walking is winning.

I see you here with your friend all the time, you always seem to be having fun.

I was just trying to be funny.

I'm not funny.

Oh. God."

I said, "It's OK. I've done that too said something meant to be funny that just didn't work. We all do it. We're good."

"Thank you. I really want to go now."

She let the door close, I got on the next one going up.

That apology took courage. She could have just let it go but chose not too. I'm impressed by people who know the power of a genuine 'I'm sorry I goofed up' .. she did.

Good on her.


CL said...

I agree that it took courage -- I think there's a strong instinct to run away and hide in those situations, when you just want to die of embarrassment.

I also can relate to the experience of having something pop out of my mouth, and then realize that I said something horribly offensive. Sometimes our brains make connections that come partly from a lifetime of being socialized to see others as less than -- and we inadvertently voice a thought before we have a chance to recognize it as something that we don't believe, that we make an effort to reject because we know better. It happens to everyone.

I'm that it's not something she really believes, and I'm glad you got a heartfelt apology.

Rosemary said...

It took courage on her part and grace on your part. I like both of you.

Unknown said...

Yes, what a genuine person and a heartfelt apology. Lovely story. Thanks for sharing xo

John R. said...

Wish there were more humans of this nature!! Good on her indeed!!

Anonymous said...

A measure of the woman!

love Linda ( LinMac in Dublin)

Tamara said...

I really love this. I would have been two stories down before I realized how stupid I sounded.

Anonymous said...

Reason # 257 of why you should always chew your words before you spit them out. WOW!! On the positive side, at least she saw the error of her ways and apologized.

Glee said...

Nice :)

Shan said...

I said something once at work. I was just 18 years old. It wasn't at all what I meant, but it was completely offensive...totally by accident, but completely offensive. I was mortified and covered my confusion and horror with inopportune flight. I was called up and reprimanded later, and had a chance to explain (which wasn't a good explanation at all). It is 31 years later and I am still horrified at myself, and wish I had retracted at once instead of having to be called on it. It's (privately) my most embarrassing moment: it's so embarrassing that if someone asks me 'what's your most embarrassing moment' I tell the SECOND most embarrassing moment. While the entire time, inside, I'm saying "God forgive me for that one time..."

Good post!