DEAR MISS MANNERS: As someone who commutes to and from work every day via the subway, I am stymied as to how best to communicate escalator etiquette to the increasing number of people who seem blissfully unaware.
It seems obvious to me that one should not stop at the top (or bottom) of an escalator, nor congregate in groups within very close proximity to the escalator. Both actions prevent others from safely exiting without rudely jostling those who have stopped or creating what amounts to a pileup for those behind them.
I have tried leaving several steps between myself and the next person to provide more time for them to exit, to no avail. And a firm "excuse me" falls on deaf ears and doesn't have the benefit of correcting the behavior. My husband prefers to merely bump into the offenders to show them the effects. Can you offer any better suggestions?
GENTLE READER: Better than shoving people on escalators? Miss Manners would hope so. If not, she is in the wrong business.
You say, "Excuse me," and if this is ineffective you take the next steps: 1) Say it slightly louder. 2) Say it while tapping the person gently on the shoulder. 3) Prepare yourself to go around them and hop off fast.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband died 18 months ago. I am rather young, 31, but I have a toddler that is my focus right now along with preparing to move (we live with my mom) and getting a job and settled there, and being my own family again after a lot of changes in my life.
My problem is that a lot of my friends (even other widows) and my dad are trying to insinuate, or in some cases say directly, that I should date when I have made it clear (I thought) that I didn't want to at this time and hoped they would respect my decision about this in my life. How can I tell them politely to keep out of my dating life until I seek their advice on how to start dating again?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners has just the phrase for you.
She understands that these are people you believe care for you, even if they think they know better how you should run your life, and that you might even be able to envision a time when their encouragement might be welcome. She also understands that while you are coping with your altered circumstances, you do not need them pestering you with facile arguments about moving on.
The phrase to use in reply to any such suggestions is, "I'm in mourning."
Unlike "I don't feel up to it" or "I'm not ready yet," it dwells on a formal convention, rather than your feelings. Remember, they have already tried to overrule your mere feelings.
The very word "mourning" to define a period of time following the funeral produces shock. They may still argue, but they will have to realize that pushing a mourning widow out on a date is not likely to produce romantic results.