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Miss Manners: Can I poke them if they sleep during my son’s performance?

Miss Manners: Can I poke them if they sleep during my son’s performance?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My elderly parents are traveling a great distance to see their adult grandson perform live, a leading role for a significant production. My issue: They will both most assuredly fall asleep during (perhaps before) the performance.

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Past history assures it may either be a quiet catnap or it may be a full-on snore-fest, but it’s quite certain they will see neither the production nor their grandson.

This isn’t a simple “Sunday sermon snooze.” They are driving two days, each way, to arrive at this performance (that they will sleep through). The drive is not the cause; they are equally adept at sleeping through any local show.

It’s really offensive (to me) to have them sleep through live events in general, and this will be more offensive, as it is my son’s show. Should I just sit well away from them and ignore their behavior, or sit close and actively prod them throughout the show to stay awake and actually see it?

GENTLE READER: This is a lot of resentment for a crime that has not yet been committed. And for an event for which the would-be criminals are taking great pains to attend.

But you know your parents better than Miss Manners and have presumably investigated whether this is a health issue. If plying them with pots of coffee does not keep them awake, she recommends sitting away from them — so that at least they can politely feign having seen the performance without your knowing otherwise.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Lately I have noticed so many people who start a sentence or question with the word “So”.

I find this to be up there with “you know” and “I mean”. Am I wrong in when I find this incredibly annoying?

GENTLE READER: Yet Miss Manners notices you are not so picky about grammar or punctuation. She therefore suggests that you do your level best to hide your annoyance — lest it be turned around on you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: This concerns the passing of a disliked food item to a partner in a public setting.

We all seem to agree that dining etiquette in one’s private home differs from that in a public setting, be it at a restaurant or dinner at another’s home.

I happen to dislike raw tomato slices or wedges, most often used in salads. I agree with the comedian George Carlin, who described them as something that is “not done yet.” This is not an allergy, but simply a dislike of both the texture and flavor.

At home, I can easily avoid them altogether. When dining at a restaurant, I often will simply pass them to my spouse, who happens to love them.

However, when seated beside or across from one’s spouse as a guest at a dinner party, is it best to push them aside, leaving them on my own plate, and thus wasting them? Or is it ever acceptable to pass them to my spouse, who may be drooling at the sight of them, abandoned there on my salad plate, and thus not waste the food?

GENTLE READER: “Oh, honey, you have to taste these tomatoes!” And then hand over one or two for your spouse to “try.”

More than that, and Miss Manners feels certain the other guests will start to catch on that they have their own tomatoes.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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