DEAR HARRIETTE: I was working a new job, and my adviser was invaluable to me. I called him almost every day for input to make sure my project was successful. He always took my calls and gave me expert advice. My project turned out great.
When it was finished, he invited me to lunch and told me he had been diagnosed with cancer and had undergone major surgery while we were working together. I felt so horrible, because I never would have relied on him so much had I known he was ill. How can I show him how much I appreciate his unselfish support? And how can I stop feeling guilty for calling him so much? -- Feeling Guilty, Flint, Mich.
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: What's most important for you to remember is that your adviser chose not to tell you about his illness until your project was complete. He likely knew you would pull back from him, and he wanted to be able to fully support your effort. You did not know he was ill, and you do not need to feel guilty.
Instead, feel good about the fact that he did help you and you were able to complete your project successfully. That should make both of you proud.
To show your appreciation, stay in touch with your adviser and offer to help him in any way you can. You also can continue to do excellent work. Your adviser obviously values you and your work. Prove that his efforts on your behalf were and are worth it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: What do you do when you are in a taxi and the driver is really rude and acts like every other driver is crazy except him? I was just in a taxi, and the driver was irate -- yelling and screaming at other drivers, honking his horn and acting crazy. I was afraid to say anything because I didn't want him to yell at me.
What should I have done? Should I have demanded to get out of the car? Reported him to somebody? -- Petrified Passenger, Staten Island, N.Y.
DEAR PETRIFIED PASSENGER: I'm sorry you had such a horrifying experience. I wish I could say that such a thing is rare, but it's not. Many people who frequently use taxis in New York City have had a driver who is frustrated and in an intense emotional state. Does that make it all right? Of course not.
You could have jotted down the driver's name and ID number and reported him to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. You definitely could have asked him to pull over and let you out. You would have had to pay for the fare, but for safety's sake, exiting that taxi would have been wise.
You also could have tried to distract the driver by speaking calmly to him. A person who is emotional sometimes responds positively to a soothing voice.