DEAR MISS MANNERS: I frequently fly an airline that boards passengers in groups, numbered one through nine, and through two boarding lanes. The lanes are divided by plastic cones and ropes, even though the entrances to the lanes are not blocked. One boarding lane is for Groups 1 through 4, and the other lane is for Groups 5 through 9.
It would be most efficient for Group 1 and Group 5 to line up in their respective boarding lanes even before boarding starts, as those groups board first. Instead, by custom, all passengers wait in the gate area, which becomes crowded and chaotic.
Whenever I am in Group 1 or 5, would it be mannerly for me to go ahead and enter my group’s boarding lane, as long as nobody is blocking the entrance? Or may I suggest to other passengers in my group that we line up in our boarding lane? I don’t want to be a busybody, but surely this procedure would be less stressful for everyone than waiting in a chaotic crowd.
GENTLE READER: One would think. Miss Manners herself sees nothing wrong with attempting what you suggest, but warns you that it may be met with resistance, or worse. Those in charge of such things will likely caution you against it “for your own safety” – in other words, protection from the passengers who did not think of it first.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I have been together for 20 years. During this time, his daughter, who lives out of state, will call and talk about herself for as many minutes as her father or I will listen. She never asks about our well-being or lives.
Additionally, there have been several times over the years where she has treated me very rudely (getting drunk while a houseguest; hanging up on me when I stated that I needed to get off the phone). However, there is never an apology, only a deflection.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of her selfish behavior and total lack of interest in me or her father’s life. It feels like self-abuse to continue to listen to her, always on her terms.
I don’t expect her to change, but I would greatly appreciate your ideas on how to protect myself, as I need to be able to interact with her for my partner’s sake.
GENTLE READER: After 20 years in your situation, one could reasonably be considered a de facto parent, especially when it comes to offering advice.
Miss Manners is guessing, however, that that is not the case here. She therefore recommends that you listen politely when no other choice is offered – and otherwise practice repeating the phrase, “Let me go get your father.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What are the bridegroom’s parents responsible for?
GENTLE READER: The bridegroom. Specifically, that he shows up in the same or better condition than that in which the bride originally found him.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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