My area of research is something that in all fairness has no practical usability whatsoever and the thing is I'm often asked to apologize for that. It is interesting to me that people ask 'what's the point of doing that if it's not useful?' But they never ask that, or do they very rarely ask that about art or literature or music. Those things are not gonna produce a better toaster.
His eyes softened. I thought maybe he pitied me, but it was something else. "Ultimately, it will be your burden to bear. It's always the Mortal who bears it. Trust me, I know." "I don't trust you and you're wrong. We aren't too different." "Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures." He was talking to me, but it didn't feel like he was talking about me anymore. "I apologize for the intrusion. I'll leave you to your sleep.
Never think you need to apologize for asking someone to give to a worthy cause, any more than as though you were giving him or her an opportunity to participate in a high-grade investment. The duty of giving is as much his or hers as is the duty of asking yours.
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain--which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad--old churches, country lanes, people saying 'Mustn't grumble,' and 'I'm terribly sorry but,' people apologizing to ME when I conk them with a careless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, tea and crumpets, summer showers and foggy winter evenings--every bit of it.