DEAR MISS MANNERS: It is now possible to buy wearable recording technology, such as glasses with obvious, built-in video recorders. Some people, including this writer, consider such things to be intrusive, arrogant and rude by design.
The temptation is to grab them off the offending wearer’s face and stomp on them, but one recognizes that this would not be courteous. Would a cold, “Kindly remove the surveillance device” do? One would very much appreciate Miss Manners’ advice on properly rebuffing the use of this personal privacy nightmare technology.
GENTLE READER: Recording another person without express permission is rude, and the potential subject is well within his or her rights to say, “I request that we all please stop recording so that we can enjoy our time together.”
Miss Manners intends for the listener to consider the possibility that the speaker will ensure that the time is not enjoyable, should recording continue. But she adds that any such action must be subtle enough to be deniable later.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am ashamed to admit that I never sent thank you notes after my wedding. It was a hectic wedding crammed into a weeklong university break. I did write the notes.
Since it was a few months after the event, they said something to the extent of, “We know it’s been a while, but we still wanted to thank you for coming and supporting us” – personalized, of course, with how each person made that day great.
The problem is that I never sent then. Every time I would go to do it, I’d feel embarrassed that I hadn’t done it earlier and worried it was now tacky.
I would go to throw them out, but then I would see the names on the envelopes and just get filled with so much gratitude for those who made my special day that much more special.
Soon it will be my fifth wedding anniversary. Is it too tacky to send them out so late? Or should I write new ones, apologize for not sending them sooner and give an update on our life?
Or should I just let it go and be better in the future? (Which I have! My thank you notes for my baby shower went out the very next week!!)
GENTLE READER: The problem with not getting thank you notes out on time is that when you do write, the letters have to be longer – not only to contain the apology, but to demonstrate effort and, thereby, contrition.
The assumption, of course, is that the delay is measured in weeks or a small number of months. Not wanting to contemplate the tomes that would atone for five years of neglect, Miss Manners suggests a different approach.
Write a new, chatty letter – a different letter for each guest, please – in which you thank them for the original present and make a sincere apology.
Close with a humorous, self-deprecating reference to the previously unsent missive, which you will now enclose. If you can make your friends laugh good-naturedly (at you), you may consider the case closed.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website missmanners.com.
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