Sorry Courtesy Remember

Sorry Doesn’t Make a Dead Man Alive

My dad used to say that to me when he didn’t think that I was sincere during an apology*.

It is one of those phrases that has stayed in the back of my mind over the years, resurfacing every once in a while when someone utters an insincere pleas for forgiveness.

This sprang to the front of my mind the other day when I was getting on the subway.

The train had just come to a stop and the doors opened. A young woman barrelled out of the car like a bat out of hell, nearly knocking over an older lady standing next to me.

Without even looking back, she muttered a quick sorry, speeding off to wherever the hell she was going.

Bewildered, the old lady shook her head and made her way into the subway**.

What is is with people these days?

Words like sorry and thank you are becoming trivialized by people who really don’t care about anyone.

I know when I apologize for anything, I make sure that the person knows that I really mean it. Same with everything else.

Far too many people put thank you or have a nice day at the end of their e-mails as part of their signature. As if having it there, pre-recorded, will make it mean something.

I figure if you are going to put those things, you should mean them. Otherwise, they are just empty gestures.


Ever have a really bad day, and then someone says something to set you off, and rather than keeping quiet, you actually let your tongue fly with abandon?

That happened to me a few weeks ago.

I was riding subway home, and the cars were relatively full. An older lady slowly made her way into the car, walking along with her cane.

Not one person offered her a place to sit.

Even worse, the last available seat was taken by a younger guy who actually pushed his way past her to get to it. The old woman looked stunned at this guy’s audacity.

What made this even more annoying is that I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who told me that in her entire pregnancy, only one person offered her a seat***. The issue was fresh in my mind.

Though I normally would speak up in a situation like that, the mood I was in that day made me a little less patient…

Jorge: Hey dude. Maybe you should let the lady sit down.
Punk: [Doesn’t even look up.] Maybe you should just fuck off.
[People stop what they’re doing to listen to us chatting.]
J: It’s common courtesy to give the seat up to someone who might need it more than you.
P: Didn’t you hear what I just said? I got here first, anyway.
J: Yeah, but you’re not elderly, or pregnant. You’re also not disabled.
P: Nope.
J: You know, breaking your knees would probably earn you the right to sit there.
P: [Finally looks up at my not-so-pleased face.] Oh. Uh. Sorry man. Here you go, lady.
[Punk gets up, and the old lady sits down. She looks up and smiles.]
J: That’s a good lad.
[Punk makes his way through the crowd to the other end of the subway. Probably a good idea.]

Stories like that make me sound like I go around picking fights. But I’m not really a violent person. I find that some people just need a bit of a prod to gain a new perspective.

If he had a problem, or was looking really tired, then he probably could have remained there. That would make sense.

But he wasn’t tired or disabled in any way. He was also rude.

I don’t have patience for that.

The Things We Remember

It’s funny what sticks in your head from when you’re a kid.

I’ve been meaning to do a sketch of my friend Shatton as Iron Man, but I’ve been procrastinating. Last night, I printed up some pictured of Shatton and Iron Man so I can get to work on it sooner than later.

Recently, I was chatting with him about this when the conversation took a weird tangent. If you never went to Catholic church you may not understand this…

Click to enlarge…

* – At least, I suspect that was the reason. Maybe he had no reason to say it at all.
** – Of course, no one offered her a seat right away. When someone finally did, she waved them off. Her rejection of the offer was let go too easily for my liking.
*** – And he was visiting from Europe.

19 Responses

  1. Jorge…

    I too dislike the rude. One time I beat up a 7 year old because he wouldnt give me his seat. The audacity of some youngins to not respect their elders.
    But no really. Us East Coasters are pretty darn respectful… when I was in NYC and held the door open for people, they shot lazers at me with their eyes, and people were shocked when I let an elderly lady have my seat on the subway. We are living in a very self endulgent culture,and it bleeds into every aspect of life, so were all self centered weiners. Well.. not all of us:)


  2. Hi Jorge,

    I hear you completely about how rude people can be and how inconsiderate people are becoming as time passes. In Halifax, I am very fortunate most of the folks will give up a seat for me if I am really wobbly while standing.

    As a healthy looking woman, people assume I don’t have an illness. But with MS, it never shows unless it really shows (I.E., I walk like I’m drunk when I’m sober, I can’t walk with my body upright). I’m not saying everyday is like this for me because I have made accommodations in my life to take care of these things.

    I used to take a bus (luckily there is some interaction with a person who should help if necessary) where there was hardly any room to stand when it arrived at my stop. I got very tired of telling the bus driver I am disabled and need a seat. I know I need to do this sometimes, but it’s frustrating.

    Even with my disease, I will always give up my seat for someone else in greater need. I guess I have more respect for others. I think this is what’s lacking in society now. Respect for each other.

    I love your blog today. The story with the punk is great! Good for you for speaking up. I do my best to do so when I can. It sucks and rocks being female when it comes to that stuff.

    Anyway, this is sincere and always is. Please take care,


  3. Greetings from Shanghai.

  4. You rock, Jorge. I was raised to be very respectful. It staggers me sometimes to see how many people are out there without an iota of common courtesy.

  5. Greetings!

    It seems that MSN spaces gets crappier and crappier every single day, now I’m not pointing my fingers at the…

    ‘ppl wot tork lyk dis LOLZ!111’

    But seriously, what the hell is that crap? Who WANTS to read about someone’s “borink LOL” day? So, here’s to a proposal, that you visit my page, and leave with damaged retinas, but hopefully a good laugh as well. Tell people to make a bloody decent space, or you’ll send a hungry paedophile after them.

    It’s the least you can do.

    MSN Spaces blows, but the people who use it shouldn’t.

    Loving your awesomely awesome face.


    Er, I mean ‘Adrian’, but I have ego problems.

  6. i will give you a dollar to take some people to task who are horrible on our elevators… the people who get confused and think the earth is revolving around them, the people who hold the doors open o n a full elevator to continue a conversation, the people who have conversations right OUSIDE th elevator doors…. those people would NOT have survived in the wild.

  7. Great blog today Jorge my brother! I always give up my seat for the elderly and of course… The Ladies. I also NEVER cheat!

  8. Whenever I was a kid, and I would say, “I’m sorry”, she’d say, “yeah, I noticed.”
    Probably not the nicest thing in the world for a parent to say, but it made me stop and think. What does “sorry” mean in other context. Is that an application to yourself, or are you sincerely remorseful of your actions…

    Whenever I owe someone an apology (which has been a lot lately, I am really grouchy.. for some unknown reason), I look them in the eye and say, “I apologize”, or even go further and express feelings of regret.
    Whenever my kids say, “I’m sorry” as matter of rote.. I have to bite my tongue to keep from sounding like my mother. I think courtesy starts from a young age.. and I’m constantly.. having to remind them to be a gentleman and not just say what you think other people want to hear…

  9. She being, my mother..
    …how did I forget to type that?
    tsk @ myself..

  10. You handled that situation impeccably, and you’re right on the money re: ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’.

  11. Hi Jorge,

    I can’t believe George Stombol… (I’m not trying to spell it nor an I scrolling up to check how it’s spelled!) commented on your Space!! LOL!!

    Anyway, I’ll be around on MSN. The one hour time difference makes that small amount of difference when I’m powering down the computer at 9 pm AST (8 or so your time). I’m trying to watch MORE TV rather than spend all my day at a computer. I spend eight hours using one at work (Work?? This is work?) and then spend another 3-4 hours hours at home almost everyday. 12 hours is getting to be a bit too much radiation for this girl!

    I will see you on MSN soon!

    Take care! With great sincerety (sincerity?),


  12. Hi there just spreading word of my new space, I would love to link you in my god/godess list so if your ok with that drop me a line!
    `•.¸.•´ ¸
    •´¸.•´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´¸¸.•´ ஐhelping people with affairs of the heartஐ

  13. Disrespectful people on subways freak me out.

    Also, I’m baffled re: Iron Man and the Catholic Curch. Does marvel know about this?

  14. Hey Jorge,

    I avoid “the better way” like the plague, but over the holidays I was whitness that all is not terrible with the world.

    While fighting the shopping crowds at Bay & Bloor I noticed a beggar shivering from cold in a wee space between two buildings. I did ponder what I might do to help, but had pretty well decided it was beyond me when a young woman, maybe 18-23, walked up to him and said, “Hi, I have this hot chocolate that I haven’t touched yet… would you like it?” Such a simple gesture to one less fortunate.

    The same day on the way home on a crowded Queen street car a woman, looking quite haggard and frustrated, with a baby in one arm and a stroller and packages under the other, squeezed onto the car. A VERY gruff driver yelled out, “hey, somebody offer this poor woman a seat.” Nobody moved but instead buried their faces deeper into their paper or stared more intently at the floor. The woman made her way through the street car, and when she reached the back a young woman noticed her and said, “Hey, you look like you need this more than me… why don’t you have a seat.”

    It was a good day for humanity.

  15. It is true.
    Not all is terrible on the TTC.
    But unfortunately I see more that is wrong than what is right.

    Sometimes I think people are just resigned to others not being courteous.

    There was a neat article recently on CBC/Yahoo about “canadian Courtesy”. We are not as courteous as we make ourselves out to be.

    We can chat about that on Thursday, Des.


  16. Yo, I’ve got a new space. Come see it. To further entice you, check my ASCII mad skillz:


    And how’s ’bout:


    P.S. Yeah, so I don’t know what I’m doing. Just go see that other broad’s site.

  17. Hey! I was just on my way over to see you! Thanks for the note. You are right in that I do love Easter Candy. Cadbury mini-eggs. Mmmmm…..

    My junior high home room teacher always told us “Don’t be sorry. Be right.” I still use it, even thought it is one of those sentences that people have to stop and think about for a moment.

  18. Hey! I was just on my way over to see you! Thanks for the note. You are right in that I do love Easter Candy. Cadbury mini-eggs. Mmmmm….

    My junior high home room teacher always told us “Don’t be sorry. Be right.” I still use it, even thought it is one of those sentences that people have to stop and think about for a moment.

  19. And now I’ve left THREE messages!

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