Monday, April 26, 2010

Of Fox And Men.

Easter Sunday was not the best holiday of my year so far. Then again, neither was New Years, or Valentine's Day, or April Fool's Day.

I was stood up, and fell off of the broken toilet seat in the little bathroom. Twice.

Yes, you are allowed to laugh about that, but I was pretty much done. Maybe this just isn't my year for the holidays. About the only ones that went somewhat according to plan were St. Paddy's Day and 4/20, if that tells you anything.

Fast forward two weeks later, and I was getting pretty much used to being stood up when I was stood up again. This time, as you may have guessed, it was by Middlebury Grad Guy, and it wasn't so much of "being stood up" as it was I decided it "wasn't worth calling" when he didn't. I didn't think much of it after the fact.

Surprise, surprise, a few days later, Middlebury Grad Guy sent me the following apology: "Hey Carissa, I wanted to sincerely apologize for not getting back to you about Boboli. I got really tied up that weekend, and after that I was too embarrassed to address it. So I'm really sorry and if we can't get together before you leave Italy; hopefully we can see each other in VT this summer."

Perfectly succinct, contrite, and polite. Nothing that would ever get your heart pounding or change your mind, however. I sent back something equally noncommittal about how it was no problem since I had a friend who unexpectedly dropped in that weekend (true,) and that if we didn't run into each other in the 20 days left in Italy, then maybe we would in Vermont (maybe not so true). In the past, I might have scoured every line to try to translate it into Girl Speak what he meant-- Did he really want to see me? Did he get "tied up"? Was he really embarrassed? Was he really sorry?-- but the amount (next to nothing) that I cared about these questions reaffirmed something that I once told myself: It's not worth wasting your time on someone that you're not completely into. Yeah, he's nice and smart and funny and not hard on the eyes at all, but he's just not the person I want to be with. So why try to make something happen if it's just not there? Done. End of story. I brushed my hands off, deleted the email after saving the copy here, and went back to the new chapter of my Single Girl life: getting used to being stood up or let down.

But what he said, or rather, how he said it, got me thinking. Apologies are funny things. I've been getting a lot of them lately, which has brought up the question: How many times can you accept an apology? How much can you put up with? Or, should you?

So, you're going to have to stick with me for this logic-jump, but I also just watched and fell in love with "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" the other night, and a scene from the movie in which Felicity Fox confronts Mr. Fox about lying to her re: stopping stealing shit explains the dynamics of an apology really well:

"I believed you. Why, why did you lie to me?"
"Because I'm a wild animal."

No, no...I'm not stopping here and just saying men are wild animals. (Though it can be true at times.)

"I'm trying to tell you the truth about myself."
"I don't care about the truth about yourself. This story is too predictable."

Someone is always going to want to explain the truth about themselves to you. Some will do it by not calling. Some will do it by sending a perfectly nice apology. Some will do it in their actions, or by their in-actions. Some will do it by not being there when they say they will be. And some will by doing exactly what they say they'll try to do for you. Your part in an apology is to decide whether to accept it or not. It's up to you to decide if you've heard too many apologies to continue to let someone slide by you, scott-free, by just saying "I'm sorry" without ever trying to change. It's up to you to decide if an apology is something that you, personally, can or cannot accept.

Just like a fox can't change his nature so easily, neither can people. It's deciding who, in the end, is still fantastic enough to keep around and have enough faith that at the last minute, they will change enough to come in and save the day.


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