DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I moved into a house with two stories. When he calls to me from the other floor, I frequently can’t understand him, so I have taken to calling back, “Honey, I can’t hear you. If you’re trying to ask me something, you need to come into this room.”
He thinks that if I can’t understand him, then I should just come to where he is. I say that it’s the onus of the original bellower to come to the bellow-ee. I hate repeatedly calling back, “What? WHAT?” and then putting down whatever I’m doing just to go upstairs and learn I’ve been summoned to tell him, for example, that “Yes, I did buy toothpaste.”
GENTLE READER: With some exceptions, the responsibility for being in a position to be understood lies with the person initiating the communication. In other words, the bellower. In saying that there are exceptions, Miss Manners is thinking of the bedridden -- not those who lack patience, empathy or volume control.