“yes, I’ll be dining on the crow, please.”

I spend a lot of my time apologizing.

I know, right? Hard to believe, but true.

It’s actually quite interesting that I should spend so much time on my knees (endeavor to rise above the obvious sexual undertones, please) as my mother is convinced that I could benefit from even more apologizing in my day to day interactions.

In fact, it is my mother’s contention that I need not focus on whether I am in the right or wrong. Oh no, that antiquated moral system of determining what warrants an apology is a time-worn relic of days passed.

No, no. That just won’t do. Today, particularly in instances like mine—where there is a decided “asshole quotient” to be considered—the measure of apologetic offering is not vested in what one has done to another; rather, it is based on how said “other” feels.

As you can imagine, the knowledge of this new system is almost crippling for a person like myself, who—through no fault of my own—is consistently in the business of making other people feel bad. I’m a tough love kinda girl. Sue me.

So, I mentioned my concerns to my mother; that it simply makes no sense to go on apologizing to every Tom, Dick, and Harry when I’ve done no discernible harm, no clearly identifiable wrong. She graciously assured me that, should any one person elect to continue on in my association for any indeterminate period of time, I’d have to apologize. Probably sooner than later.

It is with these thoughts that I set about carefully examining the question of the apology.

I’ll apply it, and my mother’s teachings, to my most recent, public humiliation debacle:

I was in court, one morning, a week or so, ago, in my brand new ivory boucle Anthropologie capelet, with a new haircut, clean, fresh, feelin’ like a million bucks. I entered my courtroom, and had a seat in the vestibule, where I immediately struck up a conversation with someone’s law school intern.

As I’ve mentioned, I was feeling like a superstar that day, and was full on self-aggrandizing egomaniac, detailing to said intern, just how awesome life was, and indeed, how awesome it was to be me.

Let me set the scene for you. Me and intern were seated, talking in the vestibule, but roughly 7 or so other lawyers were hovering in the adjoining alcove. I like to think they were taking in my awesomeness for all it was worth.

Enter, from the outside, another colleague, several decades my senior, who I’ve, on occasion, you know, maybe had dinner with. Now, as time has gone on, due to other distractions (read as: “men”), my interest has somewhat waned. Whatever. Maybe a few phone calls have gone unreturned, idunno. Shoot me.

He walks into the vestibule where I’m sitting with intern, celebrating myself in the most ostentatious of fashions, and the following exchange occurs:

Him: “Hello. How are you?”

Me: “Great, thanks. How are you?”

Him: “Great. Lemme ask you something. Is there anything that you’ve maybe forgotten to do?”

Me: “Uh…no?”

Him: “Really? Nothing? You can think of nothing that maybe you were supposed to do that you didn’t?”

Me: *looking around anxiously* (I’m a black woman for Christ’s sake. I know when some not so savory shit is about to pop off): “Uh, no?”

Him: “Oh really? Do the letters ‘RSVP’ mean anything to you?”

Me: “Oh!! Your thing! Oh, yeah, I totally—“

Him: “You know what? At this point, it doesn’t even matter. I just want to know one thing from you, and one thing only.”

oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.

Me: “Ummm…yes?”

Him: “Are you rude? Or are you just socially inept?”

I start to notice that both the vestibule and the alcove are suddenly silent. Mo-ther-fu-cker.

Me: “Uh, what?”


Me: “Ummmm…I don’t…wait…look—“

Sweat is beading up under my new fabulous cape. Somewhere in the furthest recesses of my mind I wonder if boucle can withstand this level of body heat.

Him: “I don’t want to hear any of your excuses. I’ve had enough of those. You don’t return my calls, and frankly, you have a history of behaving poorly. I thought you were different, but obviously I was wrong. So the only thing I want to know at this point, is whether you’re rude or just socially inept. One or the other. Just pick.”

It is DEFINITELY quiet at this point.

Was I rude? Cause I didn’t rsvp? I thought you only rsvp’d when you’re coming. I thought it was rude to not rsvp and then show up. FUCK. Everybody is looking at me. Fuck. I mean, I didn’t think I was being rude. Damn. That’s a weighty allegation to just own to. But I can’t be socially inept. Nah. That shit sounds like retarded. I can’t tell someone I’m retarded.

Me: “Um…rude?”

Him: “I thought as much. That is a shame. It is a sincere shame. I thought you were a nice girl, but apparently I was wrong.”

Don’t do it girl. Man up, and tell this old bastard what’s what. Don’t let him come here and disrespect you on your job. Who in the hell does he think he is? Don’t do it. Don’t do it, girl. I swear to God, you better not—

Me: “Look. I had no idea that it was so important to you. You’re right. I was rude. And I apologize.”

Him: “Whatever.” *walks out in a huff.*

I turn back around to where intern is looking at me, mouth agape. I shift my paperwork into my file, and slowly stand up and see the seven onlookers observing me with similar stares.

“Ahem. Uh, right. Well, um…obviously, um, that was not all about an rsvp.”


1 Response to ““yes, I’ll be dining on the crow, please.””

  1. December 22, 2009 at 12:28 am

    “clean, fresh, feelin’ like a million bucks”

    Was your slightly veiled reference to Doug E. Fresh’s hip-hop classic La-Di-Da-Di intentional or accidental?

    And you may have misinterpreted Rsvp, and that is the correct capitalization according to Miss Manners, and behaved rudely. However, the notion that anyone can question private rudeness with a grotesque, and public display of disproportionate rudeness and still claim the high-ground is laughably absurd. It is roughly the equivalent of sentencing a shoplifter to life in prison.

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a history of my meanderings….


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