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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners 4/15

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our pandemic puppy has a lot of energy, so we take her on frequent walks. I try to keep her to the sidewalk or the dog strip (the grass between the sidewalk and street). Luckily for me, she never does her business on walks, so I don’t need to carry a bag with me.

However, if there is an empty soda bottle or other piece of trash in those areas, she loves to pick it up. I always tell her to drop it, and she does within a few paces.Once my pup picks it up, is it my responsibility? What if she carries it from the sidewalk in front of one house to the next house? Sometimes I don’t want to pick up whatever it is, as it’s dirty. Should I kick it back to where it started? Should I just tell her to drop it and keep moving?

GENTLE READER: Trash is a “9/10 of the law” sort of proposition. Once it is in your possession – or in that of your dependents – it belongs to you.

As you have been lucky enough not to have to deal with sidewalk “business,” consider this your recompense and start bringing bags and gloves anyway. Or, Miss Manners suggests, help your dog un-learn this particular trick.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am 54 years old, and I have a friend who is 81. We get together for “movie nights” on Fridays. I was absent for several weeks, and when I got back, I checked to see if we were on for that Friday.

She said “Yes, come over.” When I got there, she was very sick – coughing constantly. She said it was a bad cold, not COVID-19, but she had not gotten tested, so she did not know for certain.

I stayed that evening, even though I felt very uncomfortable, and then my husband and I ended up wearing masks the next week at our home. I wanted to make sure I didn’t give him anything. I wound up being fine and not getting sick.

I told her that I would like her to get tested before we get together again, and her text back to me was “OK.” She still has not gotten tested, and our next meeting is coming up. She has been vaccinated but not boosted.

What would you do? My husband has comorbidities, so I need to be careful for him; also, I am still working and need to be careful for my co-workers. Am I overreacting? Who tells a friend to come over when they are really sick?

GENTLE READER: Remember when it used to be considered a sign of brave stoicism to soldier on (and infect everybody) when one was ill? Those days, Miss Manners assures you, are over.

Rather than directly scolding your friend, perhaps you may tell her, “I hadn’t heard from you, so I assume you haven’t received your test results yet.

“Perhaps instead of our movie night, I will drop off some soup. Let me know when you are fully recovered so that we can resume our plans.”

And then wait however long is currently recommended – and until you feel safe – before letting your schedule conveniently open up again.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website