12 January 2012

Pretentious Apologies

Greetings humans.
I am back from what it was a holiday full of booze and annoying friendly interactions. To get into the subject, I first want to "apologise" for not writing for a while. Truth is my creative juices were running low, probably due to excessive drinking (not recommended). I write mostly out of annoyance. I found it hard to get annoyed while on holiday in my home country, probably due to the short stay. Good times....

Back in London now though and here I am annoyed again. And my annoyance is caused by pretentious apologies from pretentious or even kind in nature people. Both of these are equally annoying, pretentious or not. And I explain: You know when you walk in the chaos that it is Oxford Street and somebody-obviously in a great rush-nearly walks on you to get through? Or when you stand at the edge of the train holding a boiling hot coffee in your hands and as the doors close someone jumps in, pushes you with full force as you visualise the 3rd degree burns on your hands? Or when somebody next to you is listening to their favourite pop music with those £300 noise cancelling headphones which obviously don't work that well? Or when you stand in a packed tube carriage and someone's penis is dangerously close to your bum?

All the above are valid situations for someone, i.e. the above-mentioned idiots, to apologise for. I know I would be really pissed off if they didn't. There are times though where an apology is not necessary or even appropriate. Come on, we all pushed, ever so slightly, while overtaking a hopelessly slow wanderer in front of us. Similarly, we all grabbed someone's hand or even stepped on them while trying not to die as the tube driver brakes relentlessly. And there are times when we only have £20 notes when buying a £1 bottle of water. Why should we apologise for that?

Still, we apologise for major things, we apologise for minor things, we apologise to someone pushing us, we apologise for breathing, we even apologise for existing. And most do it instinctively without even realising it. No need for a friendly pat in the back, hell no need for eye contact! No apologetic body language. This phenomenon is evident all over Britain. Especially amongst Londoners (of various ethnicities- this is for the sensitive ones). Why this fake apologetic culture? I personally don't understand and refuse to believe is common courtesy. There are some deeper issues here.

On the other hand, [and to avoid the decorative name calling i.e. impolite, ignorant, racist] I came back from a country where "sorry", "pardon me" etc are not used that often. You will not find many of the Greeks apologising for anything. They don't feel that urge to not be misunderstood. They are as loud and as arrogant as you could possibly imagine. They will push you to get ahead, they will step on you, they will call you names as they do, and they will not feel sorry about it. Ok, maybe I am going too far but I want to make a point.

Can't there be a middle ground for that? Can't we just take the British politeness and combine it with some of the Greek laid back attitude? Do we really need to commercialise the art of apologising? It's not too much to request a genuine apology for something substantial now is it? So next time you accidentally push me, there is no need to apologise for it. But if your armpit is in my face or your penis is anywhere near my bum, you better beg for forgiveness!  
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