I never realized how much I rely on the phrase "excuse me" until I found myself in a country where I had no idea how to say it. It's such a natural reaction for me: to say "excuse me" to anyone I pass in a doorway or bump into while trying to order coffee. And it took traveling abroad for me to discover just how much I use it as a crutch, how much I lean on pardoning myself every time I turn around. Now I can't decide if I'm exceedingly polite or too much of a pushover. I seldom notice when people say "excuse me" to me, but I also don't care if someone bumps my shoulder while walking past me in a bar on their way to the bathroom. I'm going to try to excise it from my vocabulary for a week and see how many times I get punched in the face. It'll be an interesting social experiment.
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