Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Florida Visitor Doesn't Want to Be Stuck Inside

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When we go to my wife's sister's house in Florida for two weeks in the winter, she thinks I should spend all my free time inside in front of the TV with them. That is their main entertainment most days.

My wife has no problem doing this. She is not happy that last year I spent so little time with them in front of the TV. To me, if you are with family, then let's do family stuff: games, coffee, talk time etc. Can't do much talking when the TV is going.

They have a great screened-in porch with a pool that is heated. A great view of stuff going on. Great seating with nice chairs and table. I do lots of reading on the porch. I love reading and do 30 books a year, so it isn't something I just do there.

Should I waste great warm weather eight hours a day in front of the TV or just an hour or two?

GENTLE READER: If this were about youngsters passing their lives staring at screens, Miss Manners would say that it was imperative to call in the adults. How sad that this is about adults.

You have presumably tried prying your relatives away with suggestions of games or other family activities. So all Miss Manners can hope to do is to rescue you.

With your hostess putting in full days watching television, the household is probably not running entirely smoothly. As a long-term guest and relative, it would be kind of you to offer to help. Many such offers, such as running errands and gardening, would take you out into the sunshine.