DEAR MISS MANNERS: Ma’am, will you state an opinion about the public-address announcements that we all encounter? Is it as much of an aggravation to you as it is to me?
I hear so many nearly unintelligible loudspeaker announcements. No one has taught the speakers to account for echo.
They should speak in short bursts, one sentence at a time, pausing a single beat before they say the next. Think of a circus announcer, pausing before phrases -- not speaking 200 words without a pause. There is a time lag between their lips and our ears, and the echo must have a moment to fade before they continue. They can still speak rapid-fire, just break up the sentences.
I hear well-meaning people, maybe in an airport, maybe in a grocery store, enthusiastically doing their announcements speaking 170 words per minute. I wonder why it seems no one trains these people to speak in short phrases. Why is it not in every training manual?
Since I have never seen it addressed, I wonder if I am the only person whom it aggravates and who considers it to be downright rude.
GENTLE READER: Not everything unfortunate is rude. Miss Manners cannot be responsible for mere professional incompetence.
So this is not a topic she should address.
However, she has sat in enough airline lounges and subway cars, subjected to just that sort of incomprehensible babble, to overcome her resistance. So yes, she shares your annoyance. Whether it is the speakers who need more training, or the system that needs to be upgraded, something should be done to inform us poor folk of the next stop and the gate change.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister-in-law sent out a social media invite for a surprise party for my brother’s birthday. The problem is, she invited his twin to the party, but only made the party for her husband, not both twins.
The other twin immediately felt bad and left out, as it is, of course, both of their special days. I am not sure how to express these feelings to my sister-in-law without hurting her feelings.
GENTLE READER: Why should anyone have hurt feelings in this situation? Miss Manners sees it as a priceless opportunity for the omitted twin to become the star of the party. She can practically write his toast for him:
“I believe I am the person here who has known Dwayne the longest. I remember when we first met. The circumstances were strange -- it was a bit dark and crowded -- but I immediately recognized that we had so much in common. Plus I just liked the look of him. ‘Now there’s a face you can trust,’ I remember thinking ...”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there both a maid of honor and a matron of honor in a wedding?
GENTLE READER: A wedding? Whose wedding?
That of a bride who has two close friends, one married and one single -- yes. Miss Manners should remind others that a wedding is not a show with roles to be cast, but a ritual with honors to be distributed.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)