I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly haunted.
It might just be my social awkwardness speaking (because, really, when’s the last time it shut up?) but I replay events in my mind past the point of recognition. This goes doubly for when I do readings and stuff, but even, sometimes, when I get off the subway, I’m going over what I did, who I made eye contact with, and who I accidentally jostled in that last-second realization that, yes, this is 34th St. Station and not 14th.
Most of these people, the ones who invade my thoughts, don’t have any clue that I’m thinking about them. Some of them don’t even remember I’m still alive. (Melanie Drucker, who I kissed in kindergarten in front of the whole class and totally embarrassed, I’m thinking about you.) But today I got stricken by thoughts of someone who I just kind of haphazardly offended, someone who probably didn’t even notice it at the time — I was annoyed, and needing to get my daughter home, and she was crying and freaking out, and I just spazzed on the rest of the world. It was one of my first vestiges of paternal instinct: if your daughter is upset, you damn the torpedoes and get her wherever she wants to be.
That’s what I’d do anyway. But in this case, I damned the torpedoes and, even though I didn’t need to, splashed everyone in the way.
So I wrote up an apology. (Yes, email is the coward’s way out — but now I’m the coward who gets things done, dammit.) And I sent it out. And it might not do anything — and I still feel like a total ‘wad — but at least now I can feel like a ‘wad with a conscience.