I am the kind of person who will apologise to anything. If I have to choose between one apple and another, I will say sorry to the apple I decide not to eat. Not out loud. That would be silly. Just in my head and without realising I’m doing it. I will explain to the apple that it’s not personal, it’s not that I hate it or find it unappealing in any way. I’m sure it would be delicious and juicy with just the right amount of crunch. But on this occasion I’ve decided to go in a different direction.
(Arguably it would make more sense to apologise to the apple I was going to eat, but apparently in the world inside my head, where pieces of fruit have opinions on things, they would rather be eaten than rejected, and who can say they’re wrong?)
As I say, I rarely do any of this consciously. I did just now, though. I apologised to the comedian Stewart Lee in my head. I’m halfway through his extremely interesting book How I Escaped My Certain Fate, and I realised I’d slightly misread a bit of it and I read it again to get the detail right. It was a tiny detail. But I became aware that I was having an imaginary conversation with Stewart Lee in which I explained that I’d been ill for the last three days and I’d been up since 4.30am, and that was why I’d briefly thought he was talking about a comedy show in Edinburgh rather than Glasgow. And I was really sorry for getting it wrong. And in my head, the imaginary Stewart Lee forgave me for my error and gave me permission to go on reading. So that was ok.