Dateline: Monday ~ 7:45 am. I am on my elliptical exercise machine, which is in our family room, across from the kitchen. I hear MH walking downstairs. As he approaches the kitchen he pauses, gives moiself a long look, and says…nothing.
“I know, I know,” I say. His expression tells me he is wondering about my shirt-pants combo. “My other (yoga/workout) pants are in the laundry,” I explain.
“That looks like something a kid would wear.” MH laughs.
“A kid like *me,* you mean,” I say. “Remember that picture?”
He says he does.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, MH and moiself were visiting The Folks® in Santa Ana, looking through an old photo album with my mother. When I came across that picture, moiself burst out laughing. My mother reminded me that that combination of clothing items – corduroy leopard print cutoffs and a blue/green Hawaiian midriff shirt – comprised my favorite “outfit” that spring and summer. Not that I dressed in outfits (I knew the difference, as I had friends whose parents bought their children – read: their daughters – outfits.). It was just that those two items of clothing – both hand-me-downs from older neighborhood children – were my favorite shorts and top, respectively. Therefore, in my 10-year-old mind, they were a perfect match.
“You wore them constantly,” my mother told me. She said she’d sneak into my room at night while I was sleeping, get the shorts and top from the end of my bed and put them in the laundry basket, only to discover the next morning that I’d gone through the basket and was wearing them again. I told her how much I admired her for letting me go outside like that, knowing what the neighbors must think (“She lets her kid dress like that? Every day?!?!”).
The black and white photo doesn’t do it justice; use your colorful imagination.
* * *
Department Of Generalizations
Sitting across from me at the breakfast table, MH asked if I’d read about “the soccer game.”
“The one in Indonesia? Where people, uh, died?” Moiself was unsure re the details.
MH scrolled to a news site on his phone and read a summary aloud:
“A stampede at a soccer stadium in Indonesia has killed 125 people and injured more than 320 after police used tear gas to quell a pitch invasion….
Officers fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse agitated supporters of the losing home side who had invaded the pitch after the final whistle in Malang…
‘…They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,’ (the police chief) said, adding that the crush occurred when fans fled for an exit gate.”
(“Indonesia soccer stampede kills 125 after police use tear gas in stadium.”
reuters.com 10-2-22 )
Although generally disdainful of gender stereotypes, I felt compelled to comment on the baffling-to-moiself phenomenon of crazed sports dudes rushing the pitch, or rushing anything, for any reason.
“Women don’t do that,” I grumbled.
“If they had testosterone shots, they might,” MH noted.
* * *
* * *
Department Of Apropos Of…Something
I was listening to a blog, the name of which escapes me now, where in one of the subjects being discussed was apologies and holding grudges. It got me to thinking about the conventional teaching re that particular, delicate, interpersonal relations territory.
We have all heard of, or have been on the receiving (or giving) end of what has been termed the insincere or “false” apology, which is some variant of:
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
I’ve little quarrel with the conventional apology-psychology which has decided that I’m sorry you feel that way is not a sincere apology, but instead is a way of *not* expressing contrition, of *not* taking responsibility.
Notice I didn’t say, *no* quarrel, but little quarrel. The little is this: I think there may be more to it than that.
In some cases, sincere-apology territory is clear cut: let’s say I step on your foot, either intentionally or as a (poor) joke or because I’m a klutz. You yell, “YEOUGH, you stepped on my foot! That hurt!” My saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way” would indeed be an inappropriate, callous (and clueless) non-apology.
In defense of the other cases of the “non”- apology  : Sometimes, under some circumstances, I’m sorry you feel that way is the only sincere and/or accurate expression Person1 can offer to Person2 if Person2 feels injured or slighted or by Person1.
As in: If Person2 feels poorly (sad, angry, resentful, and/or slighted) because of something they think Person1 said or did, Person1 may indeed be sorry to learn that Person2 is feeling poorly. But, if Person1 disagrees with Person2’s interpretation of whatever happened (or even in some cases if the incident even happened in the first place), what can Person1 say that would be sincere, and which would truly satisfy Person2?
One of the most memorable times I have been in the position of having to deliver what might be interpreted as a non- or insincere apology was during a phone call I received from (someone I considered to be) a friend, who was also a fellow member of the church MH and I attended. This was over 16 years ago; moiself (and soon after, MH and our offspring  ) had recently “come out” as religion-free and had stopped attending the church. This person, whom I’ll call “FJ,” called to tell me how hurt he was by my decision to leave the church.
Three sentences into the conversation, it became obvious that FJ felt *he* had been wronged by me. I disagreed, even as I felt sincerely sad for FJ. I was sad that he took my decision/action so personally (in his words, it was a “personal affront” to him); I felt sorry for him, even as I felt in no way responsible for his feelings, which, IMO, were his alone to hopefully/eventually experience and analyze.
FJ was hurting; it seemed to moiself, from what he was saying to me, he was determined to take it personally – to take *what* personally? It’s not like I went to church during a worship service, stood up after the opening hymn and declared that I was leaving the church because of FJ. Nothing about FJ, either personally or representationally, had led to my decision. So, what was he taking personally – that I’d decided to live the truth about my life and beliefs?
It was one of the oddest phone calls I’ve ever received. I kept rephrasing/repeating to FJ what he was telling me, to make sure I was hearing him correctly (I was). As bizarre as it seemed to me, he made it plain: If I left the church, he was going to take it as a personal affront. When it became obvious that FJ expected me to apologize to him, all I could honestly say was, “FJ, I’m sorry you feel that way.”.
Then I elaborated, along these lines: 
“I’m sorry that you feel that way; however, you do not have my ‘permission’ to feel that way. If you decide to take my feelings, *my* beliefs, as a personal affront to your feelings and beliefs, then that is on you – that is your decision. I did not make my decision based on what I thought would “hurt” (or please) *you*, or any other member of the congregation, but rather on what was the right thing to do, for me.”
Another observation re the so-called non-apology: our contemporary counseling culture advises us that when we are having an argument or expressing our feelings to another person, we shouldn’t say, “You make me angry/sad when you ____ (do or say this anger/sadness-causing thing).” Rather, we are supposed to say, “I feel angry/sad when you _____.” In other words, by reframing, rephrasing what we say, we express our anger/sadness while also taking responsibility for our reactions and feelings, and not blame the other person for them. Now, isn’t that, in some, way, interwoven with the non-apology?
Interpersonal relationships; apologies, sincere and otherwise…. Complex territories, fraught with emotional landmines. I need to think about this for a while.
And if you disagree with my ruminations, well, I’m sorry you feel that way.
* * *
Department Of Things We Keep To Ourselves 
Sub-Department Of, Who Says I Don’t Have A Filter?
Dateline Saturday night/early Sunday morning: MH has been battling a rhinovirus for the past few days (surprise! COVID is not the only player left in the world of virology  ).
He’s been sleeping with his head elevated, but that night the congestion got to him…and to me, even through my earplugs (translation: loud snoring). Moiself tries the usual tricks of loudly adjusting my pillows and rearranging/tugging the sheets, which sometimes get him to change position without fully waking him up. 
Finally, I jostle his shoulder and speak to him, gently but firmly.
What he says: (in very clear voice, as if he’s just sprung into full-awakeness, even though one second before he sounded as if he were clearcutting an endangered forest):
“Why – was I making noise?”
What I think (and want to say):
“WTF? Seriously – ‘Am I making noise?’
What are the circumstances where in the past, in the middle of the night, I have asked  you to roll over? Why would there be any other reason to ask you to roll over? Because I heard the cat barf and it’s your turn to clean it up? How would you rolling over clean up the cat barf? Because I heard someone trying to break in the house, or I heard the toilet running, or the sounds of the TV left on downstairs, or family photos falling from the fireplace mantle and hitting the floor? My getting you to roll over would accomplish nothing in those situations.
‘Am I making noise?’ Oh, no, of course not – I just woke myself up out of a sound sleep and decided that, for aesthetic purposes and/or achieving universal peace and harmony, I wanted you to roll over.”
What I actually say:
* * *
Punz For The Day
Losing My Religion Edition
Q: How many atheists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to actually change the bulb, and the other to videotape the job so fundamentalists won’t claim that their god did it.
What do you call a ruling on Islamic law made by an overweight imam?
What is the Dalai Lama’s favorite margarine advertising slogan?
“I can’t believe it’s not Buddha.”
Why don’t churches have free wifi?
They don’t want to compete with an invisible power that actually works.
* * *
May you give yourself permission to dress like a kid;
May you never, under any circumstances, rush onto the pitch;
May you roll over when so requested;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which I have been on the receiving end of, when a blatantly sincere apology was called for, so I’m not taking this lightly.
 Who were quite delighted that they didn’t “have” to go to church anymore. Even though they had friends there whom they liked, they didn’t accept Christian theology or any religion’s theology) and wondered, in their words, “Why do we (our family) go to church when it’s obvious you don’t believe in any of that?”
 Or “rejecting the church/religion/god”…and all the many other ways my decision has been categorized by religious family and friends – ways which are, of course, their terms, and not mine.
 Sorry? I was fucking elated.
 My recollection is not verbatim, but it’s the gist of what I conveyed.
 Until, of course, “we” blog about them.
 And he did do a COVID test, just in case.
 Awfully considerate of me, don’t you think, to be concerned for the sleep state of one who has already woken up moiself.
 Demand, in some cases, when moiself be desperate for sleep.