In The Coffee Situation, I described an event where I behaved wretchedly toward a coworker. He was well within his right to be upset about his coffee maker. So, today, only 20 minutes ago, this happened.
Occasionally, I step out of my little corner office to stretch my legs and shoot the bull with the coffee maker guy. We talked about a new delivery service in town that I was curious about. It will deliver just about any food from any restaurant in town. Pretty cool. And there, on his desk, was the infamous coffee pot, pristine and unplugged, sitting right next to mine, less pristine,heating a quarter of a pot of coffee.
I had already made up my mind that I would apologize to him. People can hold on to wounds even if everything seems fine. I had decided that apologizing was the right thing to do, and there was always the possibility that I would be releasing him from a wound of some sort. Or at least I might be repairing a poor impression of myself with him. We were alone in the office, so I thought it would be a good time.
I stared at the coffee pot and formed my words carefully. I said, “Hey, so I need to say something. We don’t need to talk about it or anything, but I just need to say it. I’m sorry for being such an asshole about your coffee machine. You had every right to be upset with me about it.”
He turned his chair slightly away from me and looked away, and said, “It’s already forgotten. Don’t worry about it.” He waved his hand down at the floor as he said it, a dismissive gesture; a “don’t worry about it” gesture.
Then we continued our discussion about the delivery business.
I still think The Coffee Situation was a good story, but I needed it to end better.