DEAR MISS MANNERS: I share a small home with two family members, and I am struggling with the question of where I may go to compose texts or emails without a) being rude, or b) being disturbed. I know the answer is not “the dinner table.”
However, may one compose texts or emails on the family couch, and if so, should others refrain from attempting to engage the person composing texts or emails in conversation?
I know of one family in which adults hide in one of the bathrooms if they wish to compose emails. However, we have only one bathroom, and it would be inconsiderate to use it this way. Further, it doesn’t seem that it should be necessary.
If each of us had a personal office (or even if we had one shared office), that would be an ideal solution, but again, our home is small.
GENTLE READER: And that is why there are so many coffee shops, where patrons sometimes respect the need of others to pay attention to their laptops.
Not being in a position to run around your house searching for a quiet nook where you will not disturb others or be disturbed by them, Miss Manners can only make guesses. Your bedroom, but not during sleeping hours if it is shared? The kitchen, when mealtime is not approaching? For that matter, why not the dining room when it is not being used for dining?
But what is she doing in your house? You have two people right there who know the layout and have something to say about what constitutes disturbances. All people who share living space, whether as roommates, relatives or boarders, have to negotiate its use with one another without generalized rules from the outside.