Friday, June 01, 2012

Size Doesn't Matter

Big MistakeI made a mistake today. I forgot some information and made a public comment on the internet that might have hurt some people I don't know very well while they are going through a rough time. I might never have known but another stranger contacted me privately and, extremely kindly, gave me all the right information.

Before we go on, I'm not looking for advice. I did what I'm comfortable with and I'm sticking to it. I thought it'd be a good conversation to have so I offer it up for discussion.

The way I see it I had two options. Ok, three if I we want to allow for me being a complete asshole.

1. Asshole option, do nothing, leave the comment up and either not care about hurting someone or hope that they'd write my hurtfulness off to ignorance.

2. Delete the comment and, either publicly or privately, contact the people I hurt and apologize. If you know anything about dramatic arc you know I didn't choose this. My logic here is that I don't know these people well and bringing up the gaffe again is just poking them in the bullet wound to clear my conscience. That's all very well for me but it's not much for righting a wrong.

Here's an example on a much, much smaller level. A couple of months ago, for the first time in my whole life, someone mistook me for pregnant and congratulated me. Obviously we were both embarrassed. I even said, "Oh no, I'm just fat." Everything I said, though, was in the service of shutting down further discussion of my weight and childfree choices. The other woman, after apologizing, brought up the incident no less than three separate times over the course of the evening. Every time I had more trouble shutting her down. Clearly she felt that, since it was out there, we should talk about it to normalize it whereas I, regretting the slight fashion risk I'd taken, wanted to not think about it anymore and just point myself to the end of the night when I could bury that dress in the hamper.

3. I deleted the comment and said nothing. I wasn't comfortable leaving it out there in the world where, even accidentally skimming the thread, it could cause more sting. I'm not stupid enough to think that this soothes any hurt I already caused but at least it can't cut again. If it's on the radar of the people in question, and it might not be, they have way bigger fish to fry right now, they'll know I'm aware of my mistake and I'm sorry because I deleted the comment. I won't forget I screwed up. I'm usually better than this but nobody's perfect. I'll have to try not to do it again.

Really hard.

Now for the discussion part. What would you do? Have I missed any choices? Feel free to give examples.

Thanks for hearing me out.

*I include this photo because it was an enormous fucking mistake. After a morning of lapping up gross puddle water Bobby was wildly sick. He's better now, though. Not sure he's going to learn from it.


  1. I'm commenting for two reasons. Wait, actually it's three. One, I've done exactly this same mistake. It is just that, as we are all human and can't be expected to be all-knowing and completely cognizant and present (even in our own lives) all the time. We make mistakes. It is what we do about them, I believe, that speaks to our character.

    Two, you did what I would have done. Deleted the possibly hurtful comment without waving your arms and causing a further fuss. While we both know that there really is not REAL DELETE as far as the Internet is concerned, you did not leave a visible glowing neon sign for everyone else who followed. It is the best possible option, I believe and really kind and good manners.

    Three, I just need to finally share that last Sunday I stopped and stood in that dog park pictured above for no less than 15 minutes, talking to the dogs, wondering about each of them and if they were friends of Eddies and if they had received treats from YOU. I even hoped I might find you there. Of course, that did not happen. But a beautiful woman did happen to wander by me, after we left, and I will also share that I stopped and stared after her because I was CERTAIN she was you.

    I needed you to know that. I loved all the dogs. I was sad I missed you.

  2. Thanks for the support on all levels.

    What time were you there, 'cause I was! (Pretty sure I wasn't the hot chick, though, 'cause I roll right out of bed, down the street and into the park.) You could likely have asked people about the woman with the barky little dog who gives out treats and gotten to be within 10 asks. I'm glad you got a chance to experience my park, because I love it. Sad I missed you but figure this just means we're getting closer and closer to meeting.

    Just remembered that, depending on what time you were there, you narrowly missed seeing my dog being a total ass and nearly getting a well-deserved beat down from an overweight, intact bulldog. Glad you didn't see him at his worst.

    1. We were there in the very late afternoon. Sometime after 5:00 p.m.? Then contemplated a walk across the bridge and ended up on the Ferry instead and eating Indian on 2nd Avenue. DETAILS! Gah.

      We will meet. We will. xo

  3. Sweet... I don't know. I feel like I only have half the information here. You are an opinionated woman. Strong. Wise. Wonderful. Well spoken.
    I'm not exactly sure I believe in apologies. I know, right? Well, I just don't ever get the sincerity in them and I think that since it's already out there... whatever was said or done was your true thought at the time with the information you had at the time.
    Having said that... typewriters used to have a correct button. Like every thoughtful person on the planet who cares about peoples feelings and being right... I think a correction is just as good, better than an apology or a delete.
    At least you've learned something and you feel which is more than I can say for most.