Miss Manners Revisited
The person succeeding Emily Post is a syndicated columnist known as “Miss Manners.” Although I am not personally acquainted with the person, I defer to her helpful decisions on matters of politeness. Actually, in the case of post-COVID measures, she probably could use a little help, which I am happy to do. Here are a few tips:
For dealing with social distancing: most of us have become used to yelling across the street to neighbors and following behind our loved ones responsibly at six feet of separation, but these practices are inappropriate to post-pandemic requirements. Subscribing to proper behavior, a gentleman does not shout in the dining room, nor does he favor less than a murmur of conversation at cocktail hour. It is safe to discuss the weather, one’s weekend plans, and your choice of books over the year of isolation.
In dealing with going “out” for a meal, it is best to forget how one ate during the pandemic—a few pretzels, soup right from the can labeled Progresso or Campbell’s and a piece of ribbon candy left over from a Christmas stocking. It is important to make sure the dining companion does not suffer from allergies before selecting a restaurant that prides itself on an outdoor garden venue. Dining inside with soft lighting provided is always safe; likewise, a restaurant that has music played softly to cover conversational lapses.
When one can afford the luxury of a movie theater or theater of any kind, it is best not to say of Meghan, the erstwhile royal wife of Prince Harry: “I binged on her television appearances on Netflix.” Rather, enjoy the performance of Sir Anthony Hopkins in a Shakespearean role or the antics of Judy Dench in “As Time Goes By.”
As for courteous behavior when going to a health provider for the first time after a year of Zoom meetings to discuss symptoms or — less satisfying — a telephone conversation, Miss Manners reminds you to limit your conversation to which point of the anatomy is featured. On the other hand, if one has loosened a “partial” before a scheduled trip to the dentist, it is always better to speak in a firm, “no-nonsense” voice to the dental professional beforehand. It will save you money, or part of your stimulus check — trust me.
In regard to the subject of vaccination, it is polite to offer the fact that one has completed the vaccination process prior to appearing mask-less in public. In that way, one can elicit the admission of vaccine-related topics before the fact rather than after one has exposed the person to virus and the possibility of transmitting COVID19.
Traveling by airplane, train or other public transportation will be handled in a later column, after the CDC has made a decision. Miss Manners always defers to health experts. It’s the polite thing to do.