I'm going to massively generalise here. Why is it that we women on the whole feel compelled to apologise, even when it's not our fault? And I do mean genuinely not our fault before any blokes reading this start rolling their eyes and saying "it's never your fault".
One afternoon this week, I was in a narrow one-way street with cars parked on both sides, waiting patiently for the car in front of the car in front to parallel park. There was a queue of traffic behind me and the deed was almost done when <CRUNCH> the car behind went straight into the back of me. I muttered something like 'oh, goodness, what can have happened?' (ok, so there were a few biological and biblical words in there too) and we dutifully pulled into the bus stop to examine the damage. The other driver - yes, it was a woman - jumped out of the car and starting apologising over and over. Now I know you're not supposed to do that in an accident but it did diffuse the situation instantly. Turns out she thought I'd moved off (?). We went to inspect the damage.
Let's just talk cars here for a second - they were both the same colour. Kidding! I know what models they are. I have a dreaded 4x4 though in my defence, it's a very compact and bijou one, while she was driving a Ford Focus. Her car hit mine under the spare wheel on the back. Both of us were rubbing the wheel casing to see if there was any damage and what I thought was a scrape turned out to be dirt. Phew. (Note to self, get the car washed!) Then we turned to look at her car. At the crumpled, dented, paint-chipped bonnet...
As we exchanged details just to be on the safe side she laughed slightly hysterically saying "I can't believe there's not a mark on yours but mine's all bashed up". The bizzare thing is, at this point I went to say "sorry" even though I'd done nothing wrong! Maybe I meant, I'm sorry for your lack of concentration. Or for the fact that my spare wheel was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or for your pain. Or for the pain you'll feel if there's a Mr Ford Focus at home to explain it to (yes, massively generalising again). I just think maybe the reason I felt compelled to apologise was to try and make her feel better plus the fact that I was so relieved my car lived to tell the tale. So maybe sorry wouldn't have been out of place after all. I didn't actually say it though - are you mad? It wasn't my fault!!