DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I am drinking lemonade or iced tea in a restaurant, sometimes a small lemon seed gets sucked up through the straw into my mouth. I know that one properly removes unwanted items with the utensil that brought it to the mouth, but how could that apply with a straw?
I suppose I could not use the straw, but it seems more sanitary than drinking directly from the glass. So I have been discreetly removing the offending little pip with my fingers, but your image pops up in front of my face, and I get the uneasy feeling it's a no-no.
GENTLE READER: Not as much of a no-no as it would be to shoot the pit out through the straw -- especially with Miss Manners' face right in front of you.
Despite that personal danger, she appreciates your question. Others who have tried to alert her to exceptions to rules seem to believe that etiquette is either callous or gullible. For example, they will dispute a directive to shake hands on the grounds that it would be wrong to expect this of someone who had lost a hand or an arm. (Well, yes, and thanks for pointing that out.) Or they will claim immunity from thanking their benefactors on the grounds that they are too busy, in presumed contrast to those who put time and trouble into pleasing them.
Please forgive Miss Manners from straying so far from your lemonade. It is just that she is tickled to hear of a legitimate exception to a common rule. Right you are: This is a problem she had not contemplated. In her excitement, she gives you her blessing to continue to deposit the pit discreetly into your hand.
However, here is a complication you may not have considered: Suppose the pit gets stuck in the straw, and you are unable to tap it out?
In that case, you have her blessing to ask for a replacement straw.