DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it rude for neighbors to use my driveway to turn around in? I was taught to find another way to turn my car around when necessary.
Two of my neighbors think nothing of pulling well into my short little driveway to maneuver their vehicles. One has a pickup truck and pulls into my driveway, halfway up or more, in order to more easily back the truck into their own driveway across the street.
One day, I was standing in my driveway, talking on my phone while I awaited a delivery. Suddenly I noticed the neighbor stopped in the road, waving me to move out of my own driveway so she could turn around in it! (I performed a maneuver I learned from Miss Manners: assumed a vague and uncomprehending look and went back to my phone call.)
I am offended by their behavior and even find it somewhat threatening to the peaceful enjoyment of my tiny home. Do I need to let it go? What does Miss Manners suggest?
GENTLE READER: If every action were either absolutely right or absolutely wrong, Miss Manners could be replaced by a traffic officer.
Whatever the law may say, etiquette recognizes that sometimes it may be necessary, or at least convenient, to use a small part of a driveway to maneuver. But this does not excuse the driver from acknowledging the imposition and the courtesy extended (albeit unknowingly).
If the owner is present, a driver can ask permission; if not, she should minimize the intrusion by being slow enough not to frighten the dog but fast enough not to constitute an extended stay.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Years ago, I met a man whom I later learned was a well-known artist. We dated briefly, and he sent me an oil painting at one point. While I was touched by the gift, I don’t like the painting and have never hung it up.
We are still friendly in a distant way (exchanging holiday texts), and while I know I could sell his painting for a lot of money, the fact that it was a gift gives me pause. So does the slight possibility that he might find out it was for sale.
I have considered asking him if I could trade the painting for one I like better, but that seems rude. It doesn’t do me any good to have a painting sitting in my garage.
I am not in difficult financial straits, but I could put the money toward a more secure retirement. I’m not sure what to do.
GENTLE READER: Although she is not an art appraiser, Miss Manners would have thought that delaying any sale until retirement could solve both the etiquette and the financial problem. By then, the artist, if he does learn of the sale, will believe that you kept it for years (not knowing where). You and he may no longer be in touch at that point. And perhaps the painting will increase in value at least as quickly as your 401(k).
Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.