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by Abigail Van Buren

Commuter Wants To Be Left Alone With Her Book

DEAR ABBY: I use public transportation to commute to and from work. I use the time to read and unwind from my day. People often start talking to me, and I find myself trapped for the next 45 minutes listening to an unwelcome monologue about their lives. The fact that I have earplugs in and a book on my lap is no deterrent.

I don't want to be rude. What's the best way to tell someone I prefer to chill out and not listen to his/her ramblings? -- BOOKWORM IN CALGARY, CANADA

DEAR BOOKWORM: Smile at the person and say, "I need this time to catch up on my reading." That's asserting your right to privacy, and it's not rude.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics