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Miss Manners: This stranger sneered when he was advised to keep his phone call private


DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I were waiting in an airport lounge before an early morning flight. It was a quiet crowd. A man in his 40s answered a call from his lawyer on his cellphone, then proceeded to loudly rant and rave about his ex-wife and their custody battle.

Five of us around him got up and moved after 10 minutes. My husband stayed for a few more minutes and politely told the gentleman that taking a private call interrupted everyone’s calm, and maybe next time he could take the call away from others. The man sneered at my husband and continued the call.

What else could we have done?

GENTLE READER: Stronger measures are necessary when communicating with someone who has just learned that the ex-wife is demanding the sports car as well as the children: “Sir, excuse me for interrupting, but you might not want everyone in the lounge to hear that you are hiding money in your Aruba account.”

Miss Manners is borrowing the Caribbean island for an example, not a metaphor: The effect you are going for is fear, so you will want to include something you actually overheard.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have gotten texts from people asking me to call them when I have the time.

I know that these people genuinely think they are being helpful and do not want to bother me when I am busy. However, I do not see it this way.

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