This coming Sunday’s issue of The New York Times Magazine is all about London. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I dream about moving to London someday for a year or two. I wonder if Sarah Lyall’s answer to why Londoners apologize so often, in the “Explaining Londoners” feature, is somebody’s way of telling me that I should go for it.
7. Why are Londoners always apologizing?
Londoners’ air of permanent regret can seem bewildering and perverse. They apologize when they bump into you, when you bump into them, when they walk into doors, when they drop things, when they want to speak, when they are flustered, when they disagree, when they are brushing past you, when they cannot hear, when they can hear all too well and as a reflex when they cannot think of what else to say. But by no means does saying “sorry” mean the speaker is in fact sorry. Frequent apology is one of an arsenal of clever tricks Londoners employ to obscure their true feelings and remain opaque to outsiders and possibly even to themselves. Sarah Lyall
Up until the last sentence (or maybe the second-to-last sentence, depending on the situation), I kept thinking, “Wait a minute, that’s me.” I’m the one who backs into a chair and apologizes, who says sorry to the person who bumps into me, and who frequently says it instead of “excuse me.” But I promise I’m working on it.
Photos by Taking of Toast