I’m not sorry

I’m not sorry

Do you ever say sorry when you are not in the wrong?

I do. It’s a knee jerk response. It feels polite- somehow detracting from the awkwardness of a situation.

I say it it when the brunette staring at her phone in Woollies spins around with her Doritos and barges in to me. I mouth it when entering the pedestrian crossing to the driver who’s shaking his head because he had to slow down his ute and give way.

And I say it in the surf. A lot. Or at least I used to.

When I learnt to surf in my twenties I always felt I was in the way or doing the wrong thing. An eternal kook. I’d always apologise- even if it wasn’t my fault. Doubt would give way to a reflexive and involuntary screw-up-my-face sorry.

Showing contrition when you’ve ballsed up is crucial in life’s relationships. But saying sorry when you’re not blameworthy doesn’t feel good. You incriminate yourself and claim responsibility for something you didn’t do. You surrender your integrity.

Last week I was at my local surfing slow, fat two foot peelers. The water was warm, the sun out and wind offshore. God bless Autumn.

A left started to break and I paddled for it. A blonde girl in her twenties started paddling stroke for stroke next to me on the shoulder. I thought she’d pull off when I was up and riding as I had right of way. But instead she angled to go right- straight into me. This was odd as the wave was not breaking right, but this type of blunder happens often in the surf.

“Arrrgh” she cried in surprise as she saw me.

We wiped out and as we surfaced I expected we’d pop up, have a laugh and paddle off. But she was pissed, shaking her head and muttering to herself. Instinctively I went to say sorry, but I stopped myself short.

“I thought you would’ve been going left then” I said.

“I never go left!” she barked.

“Ahh…ok. But the wave was only breaking left”. She shook her head and paddled off.

It was awkward and the line up seemed to shrink as we sat out the back during a lull. After catching a couple more waves I started chatting to a bloke I knew. Mid conversation he said “Alicia- have you met….” and gestured towards the girl I’d bingled with.

“Errr…No”. We both mumbled pleasantries and shifted uncomfortably on our boards.

Who knows what type of day or week this girl had had. I feel no ill will towards her whatsoever.

Yet I’m content I didn’t give away a tiny sliver of myself by saying sorry.



4 Replies to “I’m not sorry”

  1. This is so true, I do this all the time and then kick myself mentally afterwards. Good on you for holding your ground 🙂 great piece by the way ❤️

  2. Great Story! I too have been a knee jerk apologist. Is it a national characteristic? Just the thing you need when being an enthusiastic ally of bigger nations involved in questionable foreign conquests.

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