I spent Labor Day Weekend having a Babylon 5 Marathon with the Mrs. Our friends at Nekodojo sent us 44 tapes of B5, the Re-TV tapes, and as those are the main Ivanova seasons (all of season 1, 2 and 3, and the first half of 4 … yeah, I need to get the end of 4), those are the ones we want to watch. Whole big Claudia Christian love affair (and here’s hoping Hourglass or Genesis Wars happens).
None of that has anything to do with this entry, though. At least not directly.
Rosh Hashanah is Friday night, when we end 5762 and jump into 5763. Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (9/6 through 9/16), we take stock of our lives and hope we will be written into the Book of Life for the coming year. There are a lot of ‘weird’ things about Rosh Hashana, in that we’re supposed to try and forgive people and to appologize. But it’s more inmportant to forgive than to appologize. I’ve yet to be successfull at explaining this idea.
In my mind, Adoni forgives the transgressions we do unto Adoni, man forgives the transgressions we do unto man. It cheapens everything to ask for forgivness.
Jews are amazingly skilled at guilt. We’ve long since perfected the ways of tweaking words around to mean what we want them to mean, in such a way that the person we’re messing with feels like they’ve possibly offended us and appologizes. In a way, I suppose it’s cruel, but I don’t feel bad for having this talent. I know how to make people aware of the way in which they have inconvienced me. This isn’t a bad thing, this is a skill, like speed reading or perfect pitch. I can do it, I try not to use it too often for selfish reasons, but I do it.
Case in point? I ran into someone I used to work with on Tuesday, Mr. 2 O’Clock. Mr. 2 O’Clock has serious anger management issues, which actually have little to do with why I no longer work for him. I saw a better offer and I took it. Nuff said. Still, I run into Mr. 2 O’Clock often enough these days that we’re still passing coworkers, and I know what his kids are up too and he knows what Ipstenit is up to. Not to mention the cat, who’s been nicknamed ‘Na’Toth’ ala B5. She’s a killer attack cat who we hope, one day, will eventually be enlightened (she also looks like our friend’s cat, G’Karthur).
The other day Mr. 2 O’Clock comes by my desk to gab. I’m polite, I gab back. Mr. 2 O’Clock vents about how my old job sucked (no kidding) and how the partners I had to deal with are idiots (again, no kidding). In a round about way, we get onto the subject of vacations and weekends, to which I point out that I’m only at work for a half-day Friday, so I can’t go to lunch with him, but also that it’s Rosh Hashana. Naturally, Mr. 2 O’Clock asks what that means, and even though I told him every year when I had to ask him for time off during it, I explain again. He nods a lot and asks why I don’t ask The Lord for forgivness.
And so I explained that I can’t. Well, I could, but what good would that do? G-d can forgive me for sins against G-d, but I’m responsible for them in the end regardless of if he forgives me. After all, I fucked up in the first place. Mr. 2 O’Clock doesn’t get it and continued to pester and I saw this one heading right to Jesus land, which is not my forte. Not that I have anything against Jesus or Christians but it’s not my bag. Jewish. Comfortable with Jewish. Going to my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. Thanks, but no thanks, I’ll keep the Magen David and you can keep the cross. Have a donut.
Since I didn’t want to have the Jesus chat, I waited till he’s done and point out that even if you think G-d can absolve you of sin (his words, not mine), you still have a duty and obligation to your fellow man to treat them as humans. And to that end, I told him that I knew we hadn’t been the best of coworkers, and I was sorry if, in our many arguments, I’d offended him. I still respect him as a person, and my intention was never to harass or humiliate. Also? I forgave him for being a jerk to me (not in those words).
Mr. 2 O’Clock, I suspect, has long since thought that I did a lot of what I did because I had something against him. I don’t. We brought out the worst in each other when we fought, and fighting at work is bad. We left working together on a slightly sour note, since he had hoped I wouldn’t take the new offer, and I guess everyone else knew I would. I told him them and I reminded him again that day, that my Dad taught me to always take advantage of oppertunities. One knocked, I said yes, knowing I could change my mind later.
The end result? About three hours after our chat, Mr. 2 O’Clock comes by and says he’s sorry he’d been a jerk, and he knew he’d been getting really abrasive and hostile. And he was sorry. It would have been better had he not asked, outright, for acceptance of his appology, but you take what you can get.
I don’t forgive him for being a sexist, homophobic bigot, but as our fights had nothing to do with that, I don’t feel that it was covered by our little chat.
Like I said, you take what you can get.