98: Mistakes

I make mistakes. I am not a teacher who claims to always be right, and I make a point of thanking students who catch me in a mistake.

I also make mistakes in ‘real’ life. Yesterday, a friend posted on FB (yeah, it’s real life, in a way) that he had a list of things to do, with a shower being last on the list, and he commented that he might not make it to the shower. I agreed that this was fairly common, and said that a LOT of Moroccans in the grand taxis did the same. Now, that was a mistake. I was thinking of people, not Moroccans, but I typed Moroccans, because, usually, those are the people who fill up most of the seven spaces in an overcrowded grand taxi. Grand taxis put seven strangers in VERY close proximity, and you cannot help but notice smells. Does this give you the right to comment upon those smells? Of course not. Just because someone smells, you don’t know the rest of the story, and there may be perfectly good reasons for that situation, apart from they just chose not to bathe. Are Moroccans the only people who bathe a little less frequently than they should? Of course not. That’s a rather universal thing, and it happens to lots of people for various reasons, ME INCLUDED.

At any rate, the snit hit the fan. It appeared that the entire world thought that remark was incredibly, outrageously, boorish, calculated,  insensitive and rude. It was also true. A grand taxi full of seven Americans would also have noticeable smells. Plus, I am  not somebody who sets out to offend people, which, if you know me, you would already know. It was a poor choice of words, and I dare anybody out there to throw the first stone because of that, because it is a mistake that happens to everyone.   Nevertheless, a lot of people did choose to throw stones. I was sworn at (the F bomb), called uneducated, a poverty-striken, crass Southerner and a great many other things.

At first, I was confused, and honestly shocked, and I did not even realize what mistake I had made, because, as I said, I did not start out to offend anyone at all. But I apologized anyway. I could not apologize for making an incorrect statement, as I take the grand taxi at LEAST twice a day, and nasty smells are routinely part of the trip. But I did apologize for stating it in such a way that offended people – who obviously need to TAKE A SHOWER, and cool off. Not everybody who offends you meant to do so, people.


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