DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work for a large corporation where, due to budget constrictions, many people spend time in "phone meetings." More and more of these people are acquiring wireless headsets that allow them to migrate from their cubicles.
I and a few others have become aware of these people actively talking in these calls while wandering around the office. While this may be an advantage for them during long meetings, many of us are finding it very rude and distracting.
If they stay in their cubicles people can still hear them; however, it is always easier to tune them out when the sound remains in one place.
I can see if a person is a passive participant, doing more listening than talking, but the constant wandering by people's cubicles while they are trying to focus and concentrate is becoming a problem. Some people have taken to working from home, more and more, because of this. Personally, I do not have the luxury of doing that.
I am not sure how to prevent these people from doing this, but if you publish this, perhaps they will recognize themselves. During summer, they could opt to wander outside for their meetings. If I had a lot of meetings and a wireless setup, that is how I would choose to stretch my legs. Otherwise, there are other areas besides around the cubicle areas they can go to as well.
GENTLE READER: What you need in your office is a bulletin board, electronic or cork. Miss Manners dares say that all it would take to solve this problem is to use it to inform the wanderers frankly, and without rancor, that the noise is distracting.
However, when it comes to anything involving mobile telephones, the usual method is for those annoyed to make accusations imputing not only the manners but also the motivations of the telephoners. While Miss Manners approves your wanting to solve this problem without confrontation, she assures you that polite requests need not be insulting.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary next year if the Lord is willing and we are still both here, and I would like to have our names printed on the napkins. The question is which one of his names to use.
All our friends and family that live in the state where we were born and attended school called him by his middle name. He was in the Army for over 20 years, and wherever we lived and where we have lived for almost 40 years, people call him by his first name.
We are hoping some of our friends and relatives will be coming for the reception from our home state. I don't want to have two stacks of napkins. Kind of confusing, as people here would wonder what is going on. So, which name should be put on the napkins?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners has more faith in your friends than you do. They are unlikely to scrutinize the napkins and say, "Huh? Who is this guy? Aren't you two married to each other?"
If you sense a danger, however, you could put his full name, along with yours, on the napkins. Etiquette has not deigned to prescribe a form for paper napkins, but such formality is not out of place on marriage-related occasions.