DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a divorced guy who is in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. I have been attending a Sunday morning meeting regularly for years.
Last week, as I was arriving for the meeting, I noticed that my ex-wife, who is newly sober, was there. I left before the meeting started. This group is important to me, but I’m uncomfortable sharing with my ex there. I really want her to find her way in sobriety. Not sure what to do.
GENTLE READER: Is talking to her an option?
Miss Manners does not ask this facetiously; she understands that exes are often not on speaking terms. But she also cannot imagine that even the angriest and most resentful one would not want the same privacy that you do if she is genuinely pursuing better health.
You might send her a message saying, “I was so glad to catch a glimpse of you at the weekly meeting and see that you are doing well. However, in the interest of us both being able to speak freely there, I wonder if you would consider attending at a different location or time.”
If there is any amount of civility in the relationship -- or at least desire to create goodwill with the other meeting attendees -- surely she will see the reasoning in this.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our office has one microwave. Generally, people are considerate of smelly food and the like during the lunchtime rush.
But one guy consistently brings in frozen microwave dinners that take so long to cook that the queue gets three or four people deep behind him. He will pop his dish in during prime time, and then leave while it cooks.
Those waiting in line are so irritated with his inconsiderate behavior that they’ll stop the microwave after he walks out and reheat their own meal, resulting in his irritation when he returns after a few minutes. It seems harsh on both sides. Words of wisdom?
GENTLE READER: Get another microwave. Barring that, Miss Manners suggests posting a helpful note that says, “Please limit cooking time during lunch hours to five minutes.” People in offices do so enjoy helpful notes.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A childhood friend is in town for two weeks with her kid. I suggested a few things that may be fun for kids: zoo, aquarium, etc.
She wants me to watch a movie with them, but does not want to meet before or after the movie, as she wants to hang out with other friends then.
Is there any point to catching up in a movie theater where we can’t even talk? It would have been different if it were the kid’s recital or sports event, but this sounds like an “I don’t want to meet you” invitation.
GENTLE READER: Indeed. Miss Manners supposes that you are lucky the friend did not suggest dropping off the kids with you and not attending altogether. She recommends you head off that option by saying, “It sounds as if you have a busy two weeks. Perhaps we can make plans the next time you are in town and have more opportunity to talk and catch up.”
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)