Lazy Luddite Log

23.5.09

Apology Accepted

Some weeks ago an unusual thing happened to me but with moving and all I forgot to share it till now...

I got a message out-of-the-blue on Facebook from someone I went to secondary school with and had known nothing of for (say) two decades. The message was very short and was simply saying sorry to me for having been mean to me back then. This was my response:

That was a long time ago and I barely ever think back to those days. If I recall rightly you had a very novel way of getting past me to your locker. I think it is funny now.

In adolescence we are still discovering how to relate to others and do lots of dumb things as a result. I came across as too aloof at school - thus attracting some nastiness - even if from my perspective I was just shy. I have improved my behavior since then as we all have.

Thank you for your message which I am most happy to accept. I hope all is well with you.


What was it she did to me to get to her locker? Well it started with her experimentally pinching my bum. For the fun of it? To see how I responded? Coz she could? I was an intensely reserved kid (we were 14 at the time) and very standoffish with the other gender in particular. My response was to jump a mile (or rather move some meters away from her). What started as a bit of fun for her turned into a way of accessing her stuff in the rush to get books once the bell had rung. I suppose it was a very mild form of sexual harasment.

It was however - as I say - a long time ago. And long since then I have made a conscious effort to get over that and the other behaviours sent my way as a gangly nerd at school. I know that in some more extreme cases nerds can take such experiences and project them on wider life thereby perceiving the world as divided between a persecuted nerdy (yet somehow better) minority and a persecuting jock majority. I was lucky to overcome such feelings and get on with life in a society I think has a lot worthwhile in it. And yet...

It must have still been a big thing for me because I was perky for days following the receipt of that apology. I was feeling pretty good with things anyway but suddenly felt that bit better. I suppose it shows the power that saying sorry can have. And I hope it helped her too. She has evidently matured and become more compassionate (a common process I think as we get older). Maybe it just came to this moment over time. Maybe something specific triggered it (one thing I imagine is that she has a child who has entered school and is a bit nerdy). In any case I do appreciate getting that message.

Which brings me to another observation. Conveying a message like that is a difficult thing to do. How much more difficult would it have been if she had had to find me in the White Pages and get on the phone? Chances are it would never have happened. Here then is one instance of how the Internet is a 'good thing' (TM). Modern communcations does bring us closer together.

Cross-posted here. Comments welcome at both sites.

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1 Comments:

  • I'm copying and pasting comments to this same post from LiveJournal (complete with messy formatting text). See below...

    From: lizziesilver
    Date: May 23rd, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)

    (Link)
    That's awesome!

    Five years after Year 12, I sent a Facebook message to a guy, saying I'd had a major, major crush on for the last two years of high school. I told him I didn't expect him to return that, but just wanted to let him know. He replied to say he was really flattered as he admired me as a person. He hadn't returned my crush, but he knew how sucky it was, because he'd pined after a different girl for five years! So there was fellow-feeling, and closure: I no longer have to regret not saying anything at the time, because I know for sure that he wasn't into me. :) It was a hard message to write, but worth it.
    (Reply) (Thread)

    From: lizziesilver
    Date: May 23rd, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)

    (Link)
    *on him
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    From: originaluddite
    Date: June 5th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)

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    Wow. That took gumption. I am more-and-more embracing frankness but still tend to think that "some things are best left un-said". What would happen - for instance - if I told the last person I had a crush on (rather than just a mere fancy) and they responded angrily with "well you could have bloody well told me at the time!". Anyway...
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    From: lizziesilver
    Date: June 5th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC)

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    If he'd said that, I would have decided we were the two stupidest people in the world. :)

    I rarely get crushes so intense as that one was. If it had been less intense, I could have gotten away with leaving things unsaid, but I realised that if I didn't say something I was always going to wonder. Now, I am much happier.

    Gumption is easy to find when you don't stand to lose anything from the interaction.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    From: pyrrha17
    Date: May 23rd, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)

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    I just sent a similar message to an ex. Nasty words were said at the end of our relationship, and he's the only ex I'm not friends with (and in regular contact with) now. I said some things I regret, and it's taken me nearly 10 years to grow up enough to regret it, track him down, and actually get up the courage to write.

    Definitely would never make the contact by phone (I hate the phone anyway), so electronic media FTW. Actually I found him, and contacted him, through Facebook, so FB FTW.
    (Reply) (Thread)

    From: originaluddite
    Date: June 5th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)

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    Back in my youth there were a bunch of try-hard 'colour gangs' (we were aware of them because local ones like 3174 were reported in the local papers) and one was FTW. That stood for "Fuck The World". What does your stand for?

    It would have taken a lot of courage to do that. And - yes - Facebook and the like definitely helps with such things.

    It feels nice to collect friendly exes. (-8}
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    From: pyrrha17
    Date: June 8th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)

    (Link)
    Oh, FTW = For The Win! I think it's a fandom thing - Katrina uses it regularly and I kinda picked it up from her.
    (Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

    By Blogger Daniel, At 09 May, 2017  

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