The people in the middle seats in the airplane or the theater understand that they have to let you through to your seat, but you still apologize for the inconvenience. The process is repeated for each trip to the bathroom or the popcorn stand. At some point, even the most understanding fellow patron will wonder if forgoing the third drink purchase might have also obviated the necessity for the third bathroom stop.
You will be stepping on your neighbors’ toes for 10 months. More than a casual apology — or a gesture that might be seen as minimizing the discomfort you are about to cause — is needed. If you hope to find them still neighborly on your return, Miss Manners recommends that your firm apology be accompanied by your phone number and a promise that, when problems inevitably crop up, you will be both available and willing to fix them quickly.
Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I simply don’t like to travel. It’s expensive and stressful, and I just find myself anxious to be home. Visiting family in other states is about it for us.
I am surprised when someone asks about travel plans as a topic of conversation when I’ve given no indication of any such plans. Simply replying, “No,” results in digging as to why not.
I find it rather elitist for someone to assume that another has the funds to travel, and therefore it’s a rude inquiry. It may just be small talk, but how do I let someone know that it’s an arrogant, insensitive question?
What happened to, “I simply don’t like to travel”? It had Miss Manners’s sympathy, which stayed with you through surprise, cost, stress, anxiety — even frustration that people are rude enough to argue that you should like to travel.
Where you lose her is when you assert that the normal irritations caused by thoughtless, but not ill-meaning, people justify assault. You almost certainly already know how to let someone know that you believe their questions are arrogant and insensitive. But how about, for a lark, you don’t?
Dear Miss Manners: I am 51 years old, getting married for the first and only time. When I send out my wedding invitations, I plan on having my honeymoon fund/registry on there. But on the bridal shower invitations, I do not want to have the honeymoon fund. Instead, I am having an insert made that lists gift cards that I would like. Do I absolutely have to have the registry on there, too?
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.