DEAR MISS MANNERS: There are two homes I visit regularly, my brother's and a best friend's. I'm always welcome in both places and feel fortunate to be close to both households.
But when I visit them in the winter, both homes seem cold to me. I know that they want to save money by having the heat turned down, but I find it difficult, especially at night when I would like to be able, once the household has retired, to get comfy in bed and read for awhile before falling asleep. Unfortunately, the only moderately comfortable position is under the covers with the sheet and bedspread pulled up around my head.
I have a small space heater with a thermostat that allows me to set it at a specific temperature, such that it turns off once the desired temperature is reached. I sometimes use it in my own home.
Would it be appropriate for me to bring it with me to use in the guestrooms when I'm visiting? I assume I should inform them that I'd like to bring it. What is an appropriate way to do this?
I love these people dearly and feel I should be able to approach them with this, but I do not want to hurt them by suggesting that I'm not comfortable in their home. They are in all other ways quite generous and warm with me.
GENTLE READER: Warm-hearted and warm-blooded they may be, but simply announcing that you plan to show up toting your own heating system would throw them into retroactive misery. They would be suddenly realizing that you must have been miserable during all your previous visits.
Miss Manners would prefer that once you are there, you say, "I've been feeling the cold a lot lately; may I please have another blanket?" But if you insist, you can use that "lately" bit, as if it were a peculiarity of yours, to add, "So I've been traveling with a portable heater."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Recognizing that comportment standards in air travel have slipped considerably since the days of traveling only when fully clothed, I wonder how to handle a situation which has surely troubled many passengers:
What does one do, on a fully occupied plane, when seated in proximity to someone snoring loud enough to wake a baby?
Fellow passengers and I exchanged thin smiles and shared disgust, but beyond the rambunctious tray-lowering by the passenger seated behind, is there anything you can recommend?
GENTLE READER: Usually you can depend on the baby to take care of this.
And please hold the disgust. It is difficult but important to remember that people do not snore (nor babies generally cry) on purpose to annoy their fellow passengers. They do not even realize that they are snoring.
This does not make noise any more tolerable, but it should prompt a more tolerant approach. Slamming things around didn't work, and probably contributed to the other passengers' annoyance. Miss Manners would prefer that you tap the snorer gently and say, "Are you all right? I'm afraid you were making noises in your sleep, and a number of us are concerned about you."