One of the biggest, most exciting shake-ups from my childhood was when our parents finally gave in and let us get call-waiting on our phone. We were definitely the last people on our block to spare people from hearing that annoying—and now virtually extinct—sound of the busy signal. But one of the rules my mother insisted we follow with this newfangled technology was that whomever we were talking to first was the priority conversation, and anyone who beeped in had to be told, “I’m sorry, I’m on the other line, I’ll have to call you back.”
more about: etiquette
My writing partner Elisa and I have a joke that whenever someone starts a sentence with, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…,” you know you’re in for it. Basically because it’s a dead giveaway that they’re about to deliver a blow, which they’re lamely attempting to soften. So recently, when I found myself thinking, “I hope they don’t take this the wrong way…,” I knew I was in trouble. It concerns whether or not to send a gift that I fear could easily be construed as criticism.
Recently, I attended a wedding with a friend who was nice enough to offer me a ride to the festivities. I wasn’t sure how late I’d want to stay (I was nine months pregnant at the time), and let him know that if I needed to leave before he did, I could take a train back home. But when the time came, he said he was ready to leave, too, and offered me a ride home, which I gratefully accepted.
One of my biggest gripes these days—and I know I’m not alone—is when other people multitask. Whether it’s mid-conversation, and I can hear them typing in the background, or mid-meal, and they’re checking their Blackberries, I feel it’s rude and ruins the quality of time we’re spending together. But, I’m ashamed to admit that I might be guilty of a slightly different kind of multitasking.
I used to be a night owl. I would stay up late on weekend nights, and then sleep in the next morning for as long as I physically could, which with my super-sleeping strength meant until noon or one. To be honest, it’s one of the reasons I put off having kids for so long. But now that I have two, including a four-month-old baby, my whole sleeping-late persona has been seriously challenged. These days, I’m lucky if I get to sleep until 6:30 a.m. But in addition to decimating my beloved sleeping habit, my new early-bird schedule has presented me with an etiquette problem I never used to have.
Last week I
wrote about my ambivalence regarding modern technology. Now, I’m hardly the
first person to whine about the social pollution of cell phones,texts, and
iPads. But I knew the manners-meets-technology conversation had officially
gone off the rails when recently, at an opening-night reception for my
husband at an art gallery in Chelsea, my mother’s cell phone started ringing and
she answered it. My very proper mother who prizes politeness above all
else answered her cell phone and proceeded to shout into the phone,
“I can’t hear you, it’s very noisy in here!”
Have you noticed that the basic flip phone is fading away?
It seems so, anyway. When I upgraded from my not-always-charging, somewhat-falling-apart very basic personal phone, I happily chose a texting phone that’s as popular with the tween set as it is with adults these days. And I think that’s because those of us who rarely texted a few years ago are texting quite a bit, often but not always with kids who’d rather text than talk.
Well, it’s tipping season again. That joyful time of year when we all realize that we need to thank many of the people who help us out on a regular basis—and it’s going to be expensive. There are so many people on our tipping list this year, I feel like I should just start handing out cash to random strangers. Here’s a list of the people I’ll be financially thanking.
In my family Thanksgiving is a pretty informal affair, but that's due to the fact that I have a huge extended family—almost 65 people when everyone can make it. That means that we opt for paper or plastic plates instead of fine china and silver. But I know for many people Thanksgiving is like the Academy Awards of home entertaining […]
Since I won't be traveling home for Thanksgiving this year, a friend's family has generously invited me to spend it with them. My mother raised me better than to ever show up empty handed to a gathering, but I'm a little bit stumped on Thanksgiving. It's not technically a potluck, since my only contribution will be pies. (I'll be making […]