Oh wait a minute, that's right; I didn't coin this term. It's existed for hundreds of years and can be translated into virtually any language:
Ex⋅cuse [v. ik-skyooz; n. ik-skyoos] verb, -cused, -cus⋅ing,nounExcuse me, (used as a polite expression, as when addressing a stranger, when interrupting or disagreeing with someone, or to request repetition of what has just been said.)
Also, I beg your pardon, pardon me. Forgive me, as in Excuse me, please let me pass, or Pardon me for asking, or I beg your pardon, I don't think so. These phrases are used as an apology for interrupting a conversation, bumping into someone, asking a speaker to repeat something, politely disagreeing with something said, and so on. The first dates from about 1600, the first variant from about 1800, the second from the mid-1700s.
En Français: Excusez-moi!
En Español: Perdón!
Auf Deutsch: Entschuldigung!
Italiano: Mi scusi!
In Nederlands: Mag ik even uw aandacht!
In het Japans: Shitsurei shimasu!
In Swahili: Samahani!
...to name a few. So why doesn't anyone say "excuse me" anymore? Honestly, I would love an answer.
I was walking around Georgetown Saturday afternoon running errands and I had one of those moments where for a hot second you think it's completely possible that you've died and become a ghost. Because only being a ghost would justify the lack of courtesy your fellow man is showing you. So you try to walk face first through a wall and you're all, "Oh wait, I am alive. Just nobody respects me. K. Good to know."
All day people were cutting me off left and right, bumping into me, letting doors slam in my face, allowing children to dance around my feet like rabid Chihuahuas. Kid, I can punt you from here to next Tuesday; I suggest you learn how to say "excuse me." Actually, it's not the kid's fault; he's new and simple. His parents are the ones responsible for teaching him the importance of saying "excuse me." But no! Mom and Dad think it's just adoooooorable that little Taylor darted in front of me and almost broke my ankle! HE'S A PRECOCIOUS LITTLE DEVIL IN'T HE?!
Sunday morning I was strolling through Dupont, minding my own business, getting some coffee, when a random guy walked directly into my personal space and in an incredibly hostile tone asked, "So is this Connecticut Avenue or what?!" Woah, woah, woah, sir:
1.) I am not your campus tour guide. Don't ask me for directions like it's my job.
2.) I don't recall volunteering for a kissing booth today; kindly take one giant step back.
and 3.) I understand that being lost is frustrating, but that attitude isn't going to get you anywhere.
This was a perfect example of an appropriate time to say "excuse me." Had this man said, "Excuse me, is this Connecticut Avenue or what?" I would have gladly said, "No. One street over," instead of giving him the stink-eye and sending him in the wrong direction. You are interrupting me. Therefore you say excuse me. Right? I mean, I feel like I'm sniffing glue here. You just say excuse me to people. Common courtesy; it's what separates us from the animals. Or something.
This whole "excuse me" business has been building up for a while and I kind of lost my shit this morning. In my defense my hair was frizzing, I was running late and hadn't had coffee yet. I can't be held responsible for my actions under such harsh conditions. Anyway, I was in the metro (which was delightfully comfortable and not nearly as packed as it is when I'm on time) standing, holding the pole next to me for balance, as you do. At Farragut North, a woman walked on and stood in front of the pole I was holding. And that's cool; it's a tall pole, plenty of space for us all to grab on. But she didn't grab on. She leaned her entire body against the pole and her disgustingly long pony tail draped over my hand. (I've re-written that sentence like 500 times. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time putting this into words. Please see helpful stick figures below:)
Gross! Don't drape your creepy stranger hair all over my clean hand! Then when I gruffly moved my hand up the pole, she turned around and gave me an irritated look. Oh, I'M sorry! Was my hand in the way of your horse hair?! My mistake! Want a scalp massage while I'm there? Well blokay! NO! That's not the way that things work, sister! My hand was there first and how presumptuous are you to come in and lay your physical person all over the community pole, nevertheless directly on my hand! And when you realize you're on my hand, say EXCUSE ME! You invaded my space, not the other way around! My hand was there long before your horse hair was! I had vested real estate on that pole! And shame on me for giving up so easily and moving my hand.
As I stood there staring at the back of her head, I couldn't stop fuming about her lack of an "excuse me." It was just so unbelievably rude. And she'll probably go through the rest of her life being just as rude and never realize what a drain she is on society. And then I noticed that the sunglasses perched on her head had multi-colored hearts running along the frames. Hearts. Hearts are the universal symbol for peace and love. This woman was rude and hostile. She was the anti-heart. How dare she don hearts?! I could just see her at Jones New York all "Awww, these sunglasses have hearts on 'em! That's so me!" But they're not you. Hemorrhoids are you. Your yearly gynecological exam is you. Hurricane Katrina is you. Hearts are not you. And suddenly it became very important to me that she know this fact.
So I punched her in the head as I got off the metro. Not hard. Just hard enough to let her know what was up.
As clearly illustrated above, instead of simply letting go of the metro pole before exiting, I slid my hand down and knocked her in the back of the head with slight, yet ample force. And then I ran without looking back. Because that's the kind of girl I am.
What I want you to take from this story is the following:
1.) It's important to say "excuse me"
2.) Don't take shit from anyone who wears sunglasses with hearts on them
3.) I am not the most stable table before 9 am.