So, to keep this short and concise, I will start out with a short description of a friend I have. I need to describe him in a short manner for the present purposes — he was : a good person at heart but with the tendency to keep everything to the last minute; this meant that more often than not he would go up to people and apologize for something or the other that had been left undone. He is indeed a good person through and through but I would call it a mix of unwillingness and laziness that brought about how his actions unfolded — but in a sense, the reasons do not matter while the result does.
Then, my thoughts, looking at it from the sidelines, were that my friend was using up the value of the apologies that he had — for if he apologized a thousand times for a hundred different things, the word lost all meaning, the listener becoming desensitized against it. I did not like how this turned out (for it is important to me for every word to count). In a sense, I knew then (and know now) that people were more ready to forgive him for they saw the good person inside the outer shell, and that they were not interested in the apologies. The word, the action had already devalued itself against most everything the world could bring. But that knowing of him had only come with time, and they had seen the evolution into this creature of apologies. So they knew there was something else in there, and they knew it was hidden beneath the surface for the time being. That was then.
Now I find myself being the person apologizing : to customer A in this table, to customer B and C in that. I sometimes wonder how often I mean what I say, if it all hasn’t turned into an elaborate act. And yet, I couldn’t get by without performing it : since for me it is not a performance. If the output of service is lacking then there is a fault, and people need to know. So they will know. And they will know that I regret the fault even if I had nothing to do with bringing it about.
But I also know that every time I say something is wrong (with the apologies due at that moment), I reach closer to the place where it would be better for me to say nothing. And I could not do that. There is a reason for everything — this reason determines why one thing takes ten minutes when it could be done in five; the reason determines why I like to walk instead of cycle on another day. The reason may well be irrelevant when we look at things from a bit farther away but it is nevertheless a reason.
Unfortunately, in that business (and in so many others), the reason comes down to someone’s fault. And, if it is mine, I have the wish to tell the people that. Even though I know that it means nothing to them — and that the apologies I can offer mean even less.
It was sad to see this happening from the sidelines. It is even worse being in it — a farce as good a one as has ever been. And my thoughts return to whether my friend knew of it when he communicated with people in the manner. And I know that I will ask him about it when we next meet. And I know that I will probably like the answer : for he is a good person, he is an honest person; and the reasons are likely to be similar to mine.
But in the mean time, what can I do except continue as it has been ?
Damned be my honesty.