I hunkered back and forth, filling up my 3-gallon jugs and transporting them to the car. It was my birthday, and I was relieved to have a totally free day for running errands, shopping at Goodwill and eating cake. I was using my mom's car for the weekend, a great help, while I covered life necessities. I had sold my car over a month prior, and with it went my belief that if I didn't have a car I was hard up. Since that time, I slimmed down from lots of walking, got outside daily and felt free of a vehicle that was more of a burden than a help at this point.
I hit up our local water store to fill some jugs for the following week in hopes of prolonging the need for our next water trek. We'd walk over to Smith's and Jimmy would grip a 2.5-gallon jug in each hand, as we jaywalked across Las Vegas Boulevard and back to our apartment complex. Now it felt like a luxury to only have a collective 30-foot walk from fill-up to take-home. A friendly couple stood a few spouts over from me, filling a 5-gallon container. I made another trip to the car and on my way back, our paths crossed.
"I'm sorry," I said blushing and bowing, not wanting to impose on their space.
"Oh, no, no," the woman said sweetly, "You're just fine."
I smiled in appreciation and realized the customary "Sorry" was simply obsolete. Ya know, the one you feel like you have to offer to make up for something? It was a flashback to my service industry days where we had to apologize for everything. When do apologies really make anything better, anyway? Especially the habitual kind that's a little self-degrading and almost always unnecessary. A woman looked at me today, and in her way said, "Don't apologize." It might have been the best birthday gift I ever could have wished for.