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Why are you sorry?

A day in the life of me

Text: Inés Mittal Gros

Image: Miranda Tate

It’s 8.00 am. Rushing out of bed to get ready, I bump into furniture and apologise: ‘Sorry’ I mumble to the nightstand. I frown, dismiss it and keep going, not stopping to ask myself why I just apologised to an inanimate object.

I leave home hoping to get into my shoes and run to the metro. Late, again. ‘Shit, sorry,’ I say to a stranger. Why did it matter? They didn't even acknowledge it, yet why do I keep apologising? Not only to tables but strangers whose faces I don't remember. Once again, I dismiss it as I reach class.

9:00 am

‘Sorry but…’ I heard a girl say before arguing her views in front of the class. I glance up, wondering why someone would apologise for giving their opinion. Yet no one else seemed to give it a moment's thought. Just how overused is this word? Is it because she’s a woman that she’s conditioned to apologise? Thinking back, I have never heard a man apologise for giving his opinion. The image of women having to bow down and apologise for speaking up is very common, and I find that highly concerning.

12:00 pm

I rush to my job after class. Like everyone, my eyes are glued to my phone. I’m texting a friend, well, an ex-friend, and I see them typing ‘I’m sorry-‘: there it is again. Though, this one has the purpose of mending a broken relationship that meant a lot once. That word, that five letter word, S-O-R-R-Y, has so many meanings in many contexts. Be it big apologies as the one I received or small apologies, sorry just seemed to have multiple layers to it.

13:00 pm

‘I apologise for the delay, we are doing what we can’, I say to someone whose room isn’t ready yet. Weird: another apology. At work more apologies go by, all for similar reasons. There’s something wrong and I have to fix it. The client is always right, right? I apologise till the end of the shift. The apologies are meaningless, yet they keep slipping out, but why? To make it seem like we care? Probably, after all, hospitality is just that. Emotional labour; pretend to care and you’ll get paid.

22:00 pm

Everyday I say sorry multiple times. It’s so frequently used that it feels misused. Sorry for this, sorry for that, it feels like every apology means less than the one before, it has become a reflex. Even my roommate has taken it upon herself to pinch me every time I apologise for something that would usually require no apologies. It is annoying but it helps me realise how many times I say it mindlessly.

‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word…’ or is it? I wish we could ask Elton John why he feels that way, since in one day I seem to use that word more times than any other. Sorry is confusing: it can originate from the deepest parts of your heart or be as shallow as a kiddie pool during summer. But what is the point? The point is: sorry is more than just a reflex and more than just a word. It’s a feeling, a precious one, because it’s through remorse that we depict humanity.

Sorry but- maybe it is time to give the word sorry its due respect, don't you think?

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