Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Shaken Up by Accident in Mom's Car

DEAR HARRIETTE: While driving my mother’s car to pick up my sister from the train station, I slid on black ice and hit the car in front of me. There was no way to avoid the incident, and I was shaken up. The other car was not damaged. When I came home, my mother did not ask if I was OK. She just cried about how she's going to get to work while the bumper gets repaired. This bothered me because she could've gone to pick up my sister and experienced the same situation. Insurance is covering the cost of repair. Should I offer to pay the deductible? -- Crashing, Roanoke, Virginia

DEAR CRASHING: It would be kind of you to offer to pay the deductible for the insurance. But your issue is something quite different. Your feelings are hurt because your mother did not seem to care about your well-being when you came home from the accident. She seemed to overstep you and immediately worried about her car and her livelihood. It may be that she unconsciously did that after she could see that you were OK. But you may want to tell her how you feel so that she can slow down for a moment and let the whole situation register. Ask her if you can tell her about the accident and how terrifying it was. Be sure to tell her that it hurt your feelings that she did not ask about how you were.

DEAR HARRIETTE: A couple of days ago, I attended a white-tie birthday party. On the invitation, it said that there'd be dinner and light hors d'oeuvres served. With this knowledge, I went on an empty stomach. There was no food in sight. I was famished, yet I felt like it'd be rude to ask where the food was. Could I have asked the host about the food if it said we'd be fed on the invitation? Other guests were murmuring about hunger as well. -- Hangover Management, Los Angeles

DEAR HANGOVER MANAGEMENT: One way to ask artfully about food at a party that has promised it is to ask the hostess when she plans to serve. If there is a bartender, you can also ask that person if he or she knows about the hors d’oeuvres service. Using the middle person, the bartender, to do the research could make it slightly less awkward because you then would not be asking the hostess directly.

If you ultimately discover that no food is being served, either stop or curtail drinking alcohol and leave the party when you feel it is time to eat something. You have to be responsible for yourself in all settings. When a party invitation says food will be served but it is not, or it is not enough, take steps to care for yourself by shortening your stay and finding food in a timely manner.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)