Thursday, July 25, 2013

Assholes Anonymous

I think I've done an OK job so far. Being a person, I mean. In high school I had a tendency to be...unforgiving, but I wasn't a bully. In college I did not always maintain the highest level of dignity but based on everything thing I've heard from everyone who went to college ever it really could have been much worse. My missteps since graduating have been numerous at least but if I have a path of destruction it is entirely self-contained, like a motor boat with a broken steering wheel that is forever doomed to crash into its own choppy wake. My boyfriend might be in the boat with me but the lake is otherwise empty and there is a tool kit somewhere on the boat if I can find it and figure out how to use it. I may have good cause to be embarrassed but not a lot that I obviously NEED to apologize for. No one is sitting in their kitchen unable to move on with their lives until I show up at their front door and right the wrongs of my past.

I just want to say though, that I am really fucking jealous of people in AA.

Let me explain.

They get to roam around with a good reason to apologize to everyone that MIGHT be have negatively affected by their behavior in the past whether or not it is clear if that behavior was a direct result of their addiction. It wouldn't make any sense for most people to make these kinds of apology tours. But most people would probably feel much better if they could do this without it being the most awkward thing that has ever happened. Some people might argue that you don't need to be in AA to apologize for things. But heres the thing; most of us are on a level playing field when it comes to bad behavior at any given point. If one normal person suddenly decided to start apologizing for shit that everyone does at one point or the other we would all just end up feeling weird.

"I want to apologize for being rude to you that one morning when I hadn't had my coffee and you were talking kind of loud." "Sorry I threw up in your house when I was 19." "I hope it's cool that I once told an embarrassing story about you from high school to a girl in your dorm in college who I met at a party after she asked if I knew you. I was just trying to be funny and make friends and... and oh wait I don't think you even knew about that before now. Sorry." See that all sounds ridiculous but I really wish I could go back and make those kinds of apologies (from the safe distance of 5 years or more in the future of any given incident). I'm a coward by nature and the idea is much more appealing than dealing with my bad behavior in real time. Also I hardly ever realize I'm being an asshole until at least a year later. If there were precedent for this kind of thing I would be cold calling (read: facebook messaging) people I haven't spoken to since high school faster than you can say "inferiority complex".

This can't be a thing, though, because we'd all constantly be apologizing. I might be horrified by my past behavior but I am mostly horrified with everyone else's as well when I really think about it. And I would find it really disconcerting if someone called me out of the blue five years later to apologize for some shit that I don't remember. Maybe I'll think of some kind of creative support group for a fake disorder that makes it OK for me to cleanse my conscience without anyone else catching onto the trend. Until then I'll just have to occasionally cringe because the smell of my roommates strawberry shaving cream reminds me of something bitchy I said to a classmate when I was 15. There is no Assholes Anonymous because we'd all be in it.