Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On being wrong

During Cardgrrl's most recent visit to Vegas in March, she stayed at Harrah's. We were heading up to her room once. The elevator arrived. She stepped in. I had been right behind her, but a guy came kind of from the side and stepped right in between us, forcing me to hold back for a couple of seconds. Once on the elevator, I went past him and rejoined Cardgrrl at her side.

My immediate reaction was that this guy was a complete asshole. What was the big hurry? Did he think the elevator was going to leave without him? But it was one of those little things that's not worth an unpleasant confrontation, so I was prepared to shrug it off.

I was surprised when he then spoke up. "Man, that was really rude of me, what I just did. I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking." His sincerity was palpable and touching. In a heartbeat, I went from thinking him a jerk to thinking he was a man of admirable character and integrity. I couldn't help respecting how completely and immediately he recognized what had happened, owned up to it, and humbled himself about it. Sheer decency on display, that was.

Preparing the previous post required me to read back through what I had written on the subject before. In doing so, I reread the comments of the two posts in which I had discussed showdown rules and etiquette. I had forgotten about the extended exchange Cardgrrl and I had in one of them, and I was embarrassed to look back and see how sharply I had addressed her, and how unnecessary it was.

The reason was pretty simple: I was hurt and offended at being branded as "the bad guy" in the situation discussed in the post. I didn't mind the disagreement over the best way to handle the situation, or which underlying values were more important than others. But the accusation of having been not just wrong but bad, in the sense of moral/ethical condemnation, really stung. I thought it was unfair, and the resultant tone in my words reflected feeling insulted. It's a pretty poor excuse, but that's what it was.

Cardgrrl: I'm sorry, my friend. If I had it to do again, I would strip that barbed, hurt sound out of my comments and make my arguments without it. It was unjustified. I would then wait until we could chat privately to tell you how and why your comments had hurt my feelings. I'm making this apology public because what I did wrong was public, and I feel ashamed of it now.

I hope I'm as easy to forgive as the guy on the elevator was.


Anonymous said...

Wow. You got a nice little fixation going for that girl.

Cardgrrl said...



Anonymous said...

Why are you bringing this up now, and why did you not post a link to the original posting?