Wise answers to perplexing questions
The Answer Lady invites inquiries from gentle readers on all manners of relationship quandaries, matters of the heart, and ethics. If you’d like to send a query, write to email@example.com.
Dear Answer Lady
I recently asked someone at the beach to move further away from me as it was an uncrowded part of the beach. I felt it unnecessary for the family to be two feet away from my chair. They made a comment about beach freedom. I told them briefly that it is proper beach etiquette to leave some space between blankets. They moved. Am I stuffy or have the rules changed about what is expected at the beach? – Back Off
The Answer Lady is operating under the assumption that this incident occurred prior to or during the Labor Day holiday weekend, because if people are setting up camp scant inches from you on the beach at this delightful time of year, you do not have an etiquette issue, you have a stalking issue. While you are correct that proper beach etiquette was not followed here, they were also correct that the beach is a public space for all to enjoy. These days, retaining one’s personal space is often a hard-won battle, so kudos to you for attempting to retain yours. However, your letter indicates that you were alone, and the intruders were in a group – would it not have been easier and more peaceful on all concerned for you to just move?
Dear Answer Lady
I had some guy right on my bumper going up the parkway yesterday – I almost slammed on my brakes on purpose just to teach him a lesson. What the heck is wrong with people? – Civilized Driver
The Answer Lady recently saw Craig Ferguson – aka her next husband – perform in Atlantic City, and he discussed this topic thusly: there is something about being behind the wheel of a car – or truck, especially – that provides people with enough of a sense of anonymity to make them act as if they were invincible. One would never walk right up behind someone strolling down the Washington Street Mall, and get within inches of them and start shouting at the top of his lungs “Get the lead out! Is this your first day with your walking license, or what?!” As to what the heck is wrong with people, the Answer Lady is flattered that you asked, and while she does know a lot of things, she regrets that she does not know the answer to that. You would best be served by checking with someone who does know everything. Perhaps the ubiquitous Glenn Beck can assist you.