Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sorry, so sorry

Love means never having to say you're sorry.  A line from the novel and 1970 film Love Story starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal. It is said twice during the film. I guess the point being that if you really love someone, all is forgiven, there is a silent understanding, a mutual truce, an umbrella policy always in place.

I happen to agree more with John Lennon who said, "Love means having to say you're sorry every fifteen minutes."   I don't care if you are in love, in like, or have no feelings one way or another for the other person.  There are times that your actions will require a "sorry."  Sorry, but I hate the scent of that candle you bought, please throw it out.  Sorry, I didn't mean to say those things in front of your co-workers.  Sorry, but I gently bashed into the back of  your car with my car.

There are different levels of sorry, just like different levels of love.  You can love a friend,  a pet, a song, a movie, an entire food group, your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouse, all a bit differently.   Now, if you eat the last piece of dark chocolate that I had secretly hidden in the cupboard, that requires only a small dose of sorry, you forget to tell me my hair appointment was moved to a different time and I end up missing it, a bigger sorry, and, the oh, sorry, but I don't think this relationship is working any longer, well that  requires a pretty big sorry and then of course years and years of therapy on the recipients part.  But you've said it, it is out, and everyone can move on.

"I'm sorry." Why are those two little words so difficult to say? It must be because we have to admit we messed up, we were wrong, we hurt someone.  We look foolish.  It is so hard for us to say sorry and mean it that Hallmark had to make it a bit easier by developing an entire line around the apology.  For a mere $2.95 they can say it for  you!  But if we can issue an honest apology it works wonders towards mending our damaged relationships, dissolving our anger and resentment, soothing our shattered ego and can make it a bit easier to heal a broken heart.

Sorry is of course only as good as the sincerity with which it is delivered.  You must first honestly regret your actions, take responsibility for them and be willing to remedy the situation.  And this sometimes takes a lot more effort than uttering the simple "s" word.  That old "actions speak louder than words"  Hello?? 

There are a lifetime of sorrys ahead.  Not that big of a deal.  It is what we have to do, because invariably we will all do things that will require the forgiveness of others.  So for now, if I have hurt or offended anyone, and at the time of this writing, still have not apologized, I am now extending my sincere blanket "sorry" to you and I hope it will be accepted.  (No, I am not practicing Step 8 of the many 12 step programs nor have I joined any anonymous group, such as alcohol, drug, overeaters, overspenders, oversleepers, overshampooers, etc. - but like Earl, I am simply reminded that I might be in need some good karma points and have missed a sorry here and there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Iron Maiden

Every once in a blue moon I pull out of my closet several linen or cotton shirts that desperately need to be ironed. And as I get out the ironing board and the iron, add water to the proper fill line, I wonder why I ever bought these shirts in the first place. I could go on and on about linen, the fabric everyone seems to love, but to me it is like wearing a Sharpei puppy, getting wrinkly and sloppy even if cool. 

But that is neither here nor there. As I began ironing my first black linen shirt, my boyfriend appeared, quite sheepishly, and asked “could you iron one of my shirts too?” Ugh, I let out a heavy sigh, “oh alright." “Would it be pushing it if I asked for two?” Holy #//@!, what does he think I am, his housekeeper, his maid, his personal laundry valet? “Why can’t you just take these to the drycleaner and have them laundered," I wonder out loud. He quietly hangs the two shirts on the chair next to me and sort of slinks out of the room. These work shirts of his are simple white cotton Ralph Lauren button down shirts. I do okay on the front and back, but I go crazy working with the sleeves and the cuffs. I hate it; it seems I add more wrinkles than I painstakingly try to remove. But whatever, I will iron them, put them back in his closet and hopefully he won’t notice my lack of good ironing skills, or if I’m lucky, he will and he’ll never ask me to do this dreadful chore for him again.

I remember once as a young girl, maybe 9 or perhaps 12 years old, my memories are rather blurry, my grandmother took me into her spare bedroom where she kept her sewing machine and iron, things like that, and tried to teach me the art of ironing. I probably gazed out the window into her backyard, bored, while she lovingly showed me step by step how to iron first this and then that. Little did she know, or maybe she did , I wasn’t paying any attention. But what I’m sure she didn’t know was that this was a skill that many women of my generation would discard and give to other people to do, to the drycleaner or perhaps their own hired help.
All of these wonderful and necessary skills, like an art form, are being long forgotten. Hem my own pants? Are you kidding me? No, I will take them to be altered. Iron, absolutely not, if I can help it, the drycleaner can do it. Sew on my missing buttons, perhaps, if I could see well enough to thread the damn needle! Bake my own Syrian bread? Nice thought, but no - thank goodness for Trader Joe’s – not very authentic and not nearly as delicious, but oh the convenience!

I thought about my mother and all of the woman of her generation who tirelessly did not only all the ironing, but sewing, mending, cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. and I feel like they must look at all of us “homemakers” now and think we are a bunch of wimpy women. Ah, we have all of two kids and we just can’t handle it. Cleaning woman, daycare, doggie daycare, psychotherapists, cat sitter, gardener, wah wah wah over our Cosmopolitans on ladies night out. I realize we live in a different world, working our own outside jobs, creating a busier than busy world. But really, could we skip an hour of something each night (perhaps an episode of one of the endless TV dramas or newscasts that we have become so caught up in)  so that we could do a little mending of our own? My guess it that spending a meditative hour once in a while to flawlessly iron a shirt or sew on some buttons, hem my own pants or bake my own bread, just might mend a whole lot more than a buttonless sweater or a wrinkly blouse.

I look back at my Mom and my grandmother and all the tasks they performed and we didn’t think twice about them. They were just things Moms knew how to do. Who knew ironing was such an art or a skill to master? Not me, until again today when I am reminded of that as I hang my still half wrinkled shirt back in the closet and proclaim it to be “good enough.”