DEAR MISS MANNERS: During this pandemic, it is strongly suggested (and in some areas, required) that we wear masks when in public. I have seen many people ignoring this suggestion/requirement.
What is the best way to point out to them that they are endangering not only themselves, but those of us who are unfortunate enough to be near them?
GENTLE READER: They already know. Do you imagine that they have escaped hearing that masks are recommended, if not required, and why?
Miss Manners has long tried to make people understand that scofflaws do not reform when shamed by strangers. Rather, they fight back.
She supposes you could carry wrapped masks and say, “I have an extra mask if you need one.” But surely the best way to protect yourself is not to confront such people, but to move quickly away from them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was raised to believe that one should always stand up to greet anyone who was older, or in a position of authority. My conundrum is that I, a female, am much taller than my veterinarian, a female of a similar age.
I am not exceptionally tall, and she is not exceptionally diminutive, but the height difference is significant enough to make it awkward when she has to look up at me to advise me about my pets. I greatly respect her professional skills, and sincerely like her as a person.
Would it be rude to remain seated while she talks to me, so that we’re on a similar eye level, or should I keep with the protocol of standing while addressed? Of course, I could always stand up to greet her and then sit back down, if that would be better.
GENTLE READER: Have you noticed that your doctor is wearing a lab coat, even though she may not have been in a lab since graduate school? Miss Manners will get back to that.
Height is not the issue here: Your veterinarian is accustomed to dealing with patients significantly larger or smaller than herself.
The rule in social settings is that gentlemen rise to greet ladies, and the young rise to greet their elders. This is reversed in a business setting: Employees rise to greet the boss -- which in this case is you, as a client.
The lab coat is your doctor’s way of deemphasizing the fact that, in spite of having attended medical school, she works for you. She will be content with your remaining seated so long as you refrain from arguing with her advice based on something you read on iluuuuvmycat.com.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: If I’ve made a donation to a charity in someone’s memory, as suggested in their obituary, and ask for the family to be notified, am I wrong to expect a thank-you note?
GENTLE READER: As a staunch opponent of treating such circumstances as chits, redeemable for more convenient benefits or services, Miss Manners takes some satisfaction in saying that you are now owed two thank-you letters: one from the charity, for tax purposes, and a second from the family.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)