I use three words at work. “Sorry!” “Excuse me!” and “Broccoli!”
Out of these three words, “Broccoli!” is the most demanding, “Excuse me!” is the least frequent and “Sorry!” is used a like a comma. I sandwich “Sorry!” between words without a second thought.
Columbia Harbour House has a very small kitchen. It’s quaint and tiny and requires a good deal of agility to dodge. Were I the size of Tinker Bell, it would far easier for me to fit between heavy trays, rolling carts and countless stainless-steel surfaces. As a result, everyone is always up in other people’s space, squeezing between narrow entrances and bumping around the cooler like old-fashioned bumper cars. “Sorry,” has become a phrase used more often than any other.
I am the most guilty of using it as a filler. Even things I don’t have to be sorry for I apologize for without thought. Finally, a fellow kitchen Cast Member told me, “Don’t worry about it! There’s no need to be sorry!”
He wasn’t mean about it, but he was forward. And he was right. I didn’t need to be sorry. Neither did half of the cast, as we bumped around and slid through tight spaces, throwing “Sorry!” into the air as if it were as common as change.
So, on one of my ten-hour days, I made a very conscious effort to stop saying sorry. I opened yesterday, and was able to begin my day apology-free. I was prepared to shut my inner doormat down and stop begging forgiveness, as well as opening my ears to notice just how often everyone else said it.
I didn’t last ten minutes.
“Can I trade you carts?” one of the Front-of- House Cast Member asked. “I need it to carry the condiments and this is usually the cart I use.”
My cart was laden with materials for opening the grill, but I said, “Sure, go ahead!”
I began to unload my stuff while the Cast Member stood by patiently. “Sorry,” I apologized after I had unloaded it all and rolled the cart towards her.
“No problem!” she said breezily and rolled off.
Sorry: one. Erin: zero.
Why was I sorry? I hadn’t done anything wrong! It was just a filler, something to say when there wasn’t another good phrase to use.
I kept my jaw clenched against the word all day, but still succeeded in letting eleven “Sorry!” words escape. Eleven! And that was a good day.
The kindly man running the dish pit was guilty of it as well. I’d squeak through a small opening between carts and the dishwasher and he’d apologize, as if it were his fault for putting the massive dishwasher in my path.
“Don’t worry about it!” I found myself exclaiming, then turning around and apologizing to whoever happened to bump into me next. Someone even ran into me with a rolling cart and I apologized.
Why? I wasn’t in the way. I didn’t need to apologize. It wasn’t my fault.
This is something I’ve been trying to cease. I shouldn’t be sorry. The only thing I should apologize for is my overuse of the word!
I have a relatively short shift today, and I don’t even have to wonder how many times the word is going to leave my mouth. Today’s experiment will consist of my utilizing up to five exclamations of “Sorry!” and leaving it at that.
I don’t mean to say that I’m not sorry about anything. I just need to use the word more sincerely. I’m demeaning the phrase, and it must stop for the sake of my vernacular.
Wish me luck! I’m hoping I won’t have anything to be sorry about today. And even if there is, I plan on keeping my sorry mouth shut.
Also, on a separate note, Tina Fey was spotted at the Haunted Mansion yesterday. That’s right–I was within a half-mile radius of Tina Fey. (Its times like this I wish I weren’t strictly a backstage Cast Member. I hardly ever get to see the guests, and it kills me.)
If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.