Excuse Me, Can You Please Explain?

Dear Husband,

I think we need to have a little chat. It has come to my attention that perhaps a little clarification on the difference between “excuse” and “explain” would not go astray. Namely because I am somewhat concerned that you are mixing up the two.

We had a particularly predictable and unpleasant interlude the other day whilst out at breakfast about absolutely nothing of any importance whatsoever. Like it really was over something stupid. Not that you would have guessed as an outsider of course because the conversation got quite heated but nevertheless, it was really neither here nor there. It was however on a topic which highlighted the fact that we frequently come from differing frames of reference.

On this particular occasion, I expressed an opinion with which you disagreed. Totally fair enough. You pointed this out in a way that I interpreted as you calling me silly. I know you weren’t but that’s what it felt like at the time. I reacted by getting defensive and trying to force my point. I’m not proud, I’m just saying. You reacted to my reaction by reiterating your point and swearing. I thought this was excessive. I got pissed that you resorted to cursing whilst you were talking to me and changed tactics to go on the offensive. Not my finest moment. Possibly for longer than was necessary. Sorry about that. The conversation then went into a lull with both of us feeling upset and a couple of minutes later it picked up again…Now there is no way I’m not going to sound like a right cow here and I fully acknowledge that I am biased but my interpretation was that you then did your passive aggressive thing and you said “I wasn’t actually swearing at you…you just went on an on at me…do you really think that what you did was appropriate…don’t you think that you ought to apologise for that?” and I got defensive all over again.

I tried to tell you that I didn’t give a rats whether you were swearing at me or to me as I view both with equal distaste. Although granted, not enough distaste that I wouldn’t stoop to doing the exact same thing to you to see how you liked it. I tried to impart that no matter how reasonable you think you are, my argument was actually logical and you weren’t addressing my concerns at which point you said “I’m just trying to explain here and you’re sitting there making excuses”…I’m sorry? You, Dear Husband, just left me gob-smacked. I had to get up and leave the table. Yes, I also needed to go to the bathroom and get some more food but right then, I was also slightly dumbfounded and I knew without a doubt that nothing I had to say after that was going to be either understood or well received so I removed myself.

So this is why I would just like to state the following:

ex·cuse

1. to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of: He excused his crappy mood by saying that he’d had no sleep.

2. to serve as an apology or justification for; justify: Ignorance of the social niceties excuses no one.

3. an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.: Her excuse for swearing was unacceptable.

4. a pretext or subterfuge: He uses his poor judgement as an excuse for acting like a twat.

ex·plain

1. to make plain or clear; render understandable or intelligible: to explain an obscure point.

2. to make known in detail: to explain how to do something.

3. to assign a meaning to; interpret: How can you explain such a ridiculous idea?

4. to make clear the cause or reason of; account for: I cannot explain his weird moods.

Now I am honestly not sure whether you would classify what I was saying as an explanation or an excuse. I know I wasn’t trying to say I was not at fault. I wasn’t asking you to view my behaviour as perfectly justified. I also wasn’t asking you to forget the conversation as though it wasn’t worth getting worked up about. I was trying to make you understand. At the time, I was trying to explain.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on however, I would love to know how you think your “explanation” was different from my “excuse” because I’ll be buggered if I can tell the difference.

Bewilderedly Yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken at Mirozozo a while back

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