Earlier this week I’d been doing a big supermarket shop and having put everything in the boot, decided to text my son before driving home. As I was sitting there in the car, someone else parked directly alongside. Slightly odd, I thought, since the carpark wasn’t busy and she had a choice of several other spaces which weren’t immediately beside a parked car. Oh well, it’s a free country etc.
You can imagine I was pretty annoyed when I heard – and felt – the impact when she opened the driver’s door onto the side of my car. I got out and walked round to the other side of the car to inspect the damage and found a big scrape in the surface of the paintwork.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked, in a nasty tone of voice.
“Yes” I replied, “You just damaged my car when you opened your door”.
“Well I didn’t do it on purpose” she huffed unpleasantly, before stalking off towards the supermarket.
Several days later I’m still cross.
If she’d apologised or shown any small sign of contrition, I’d have accepted it and forgotten it.
If she’d admitted her clumsiness or confessed to having problems with her arm or something, I’d have excused it and moved on, filing it under shit happens, get over it.
Instead of which, I’m still fuming and mulling over in my mind all the things I should’ve/could’ve said at the time. I’m ashamed to admit I fleetingly thought about opening the door of my own car onto hers and inflicting similar damage. Or telling her that her clothes were far too young for her age, which they absolutely were, and that her obvious years of smoking and sundamage hadn’t done much for her face. It might have given me some fleeting satisfaction but I’d have regretted giving in to nastiness before the words left my mouth. My mother brought us up to understand that two wrongs do not make a right and that sort of behaviour only diminishes yourself.
Yes, I know scraped paintwork isn’t the end of the world. It’s pathetically inconsequential stuff compared to the ructions infidelity causes.
BUT – if she’d apologised it would have made all the difference.
The parallel I’m eventually getting to is that healing and moving on is a damn sight easier when the other person expresses remorse.