I am a professional apologizer. I will sorry you under the table, and make you so sorry you ever tried to one-up me in the sorry game, that you will walk away feeling incredibly sorry for me. I once apologized to a car door for running into it. I’ve told my hairdresser how sorry I am for having this hair. I constantly tell my therapist how sorry I am for talking too much. I wrote a one-woman show called I’m Sorry! I’ve begged forgiveness for having thoughts and feelings and needs my entire life. Which is why I found it surprising that my lastima valve was leaking big time the other day while I was on a flight back to Texas.
I must point out that the sorry dispensers (tossing them left and right) were women. Not the majority. All of them. I didn’t want that to be true, but it was. I know this isn’t an original topic of discussion – others have spoken about it much more eloquently than I ever could (read here and here.) So instead of sounding smart, I will simply share with you my sorry count, recorded on a single, 2 hour and 22 minute flight.
1. One woman apologized for bumping into a guy with her bag. Okay, not a big offense, but I’ll give her that one.
2. Another woman seemed sorry for even having a bag.
3. One gal said sorry for wanting to put her bag in the overhead compartment where a dude’s coat was sprawled out like a clothy porn star, taking up precious wheely-bag room. She then walked all the way to the back of the plane to find room for her bag, even though her seat was up front, instead of asking him to move his stupid coat because she was THAT SORRY.
4. I heard, “Sorry, that’s actually my seat,” said quietly by a mom with a baby. Nooooo.
5. Two rows ahead someone coughed. A woman apologized for it. How dare she make noise!
6. Just witnessed, “Sorry I need to use the bathroom,” and then she awkwardly scooched by the knees of the man in the aisle who did not get up.
7. Oh God, she came back. “Sorry, I need to get back into my seat!”
8. Heard over that fuzzy airplane noise, a female voice saying, “Sorry your foot is on my foot (This one killed me. Why was she sorry? Shouldn’t the guy with the agro-foot be sorry? As if her foot is an idiot and placed itself underneath his.)
9. “Sorry do you want ice?” the female flight attendant just asked me.
10. A woman asked another woman if she could please stop popping her gum so loudly, but first she apologized for asking. The gum-popper responded with three sorry’s in a row, then roller her gum into a napkin.
11. Across from my seat, a businesswoman apologized for grazing elbows with the overweight guy next to her. Is she supposed to forgo elbow needs? Assume he gets first elbow dibs for being a man?
12. “Sorry, can I close the window?” Ugh. I want to tell this Southern-drawled woman that she is sitting in the window seat so it is HER CALL.
13. A sweet, pudgy woman wearing Tevas and socks (already, lastima) yawned and then apologized for it when I accidentally caught her eye.
14. A teenage girl turning on the overhead light said, “Sorry, is this okay?” She just wanted to read.
15. I caught a chick taking a pouty-lip selfie (I can’t even.) She turned crimson, then told me “sorry.” Really I think she was sorry I busted in on her moment of pride and confidence.
16. I accidentally kicked the girl I was sitting next to and we both said, IN UNISON, “sorry!”
17. Deplaning = a sorry orgy.
Note: I did not hear a man use one the word once. I saw men having encounters, yes, some of the very same kind, but always sans apology. Is this something we’re encouraging women to be – sorry for everything to the point that we’re sorry for who we are? Is there a female-driven Sorry Epidemic going on? Is this the foundation for shame?
Eventually I stopped counting because tears were pooling in my eyes (the selfie especially hurt my heart.) I dug my nose into the crook of my elbow to drown out the snot and the lastima, which was stronger than the cabin pressure threatening to burst my eardrums. I didn’t want anybody to know I was crying. I didn’t want to have to be sorry for it.
p.s. The next day I was late for my flight back home and went running through the airport, hair flying, bags waving like a madwoman. I apologized to every person I encountered because I didn’t “have control over my emotions.” I just wanted to go home. Is that something to apologize for?