Dear Annie: I just got back from a trip visiting my family across the country and something followed me from sea to shining sea — people watching videos, listening to music and playing video games loudly and without headphones for the most part, too. What is with this?
I first noticed it when a young boy next to me at the airport was playing on his iPad with the video game noises on high. His parents seemed oblivious to the obvious disturbance. Next, someone was video conferencing their partner, without headphones or even moving to a less crowded space, as we were boarding. Yet another person was blasting her music on the plane; I could hear it from two rows back! Finally, after landing, I got on the train to head home and this elderly couple kept passing their phones back and forth, sharing videos while a guy down the train car played his music through his speakerphone.
This rude phenomenon spans generations and gender, seemingly, but I can't be the only one who is disturbed by this trend. Annie, what's the best way to approach people who can't seem to keep their music to themselves? — Thanks for Not Sharing
Dear Thanks for Not Sharing: Your letter provides a wonderful description of what all of us are putting up with these days. Trying to block the noise out and going into a mental bubble can be challenging. It is amazing how a few rude people can ruin your day — if you let them. Maybe the best solution is to keep headphones with you and put them on for two reasons: one, to show them your good example, and, two, to block out the inconsiderate people. Let's hope some enlightened legislators will pass a law addressing this issue.
Dear Annie: Today I read in the news about the fuss over a Starbucks employee misunderstanding someone's name and writing ISIS instead of AZIZ. This would not have been a problem if businesses would quit insisting on getting your first name when you order. I am perfectly happy being a number and resent how some places insist on asking my name. I am not your new best friend; I am your customer and deserve the respect that comes with that. Also, I feel it puts women and young teens at risk when their name is announced to a room full of strangers. Yes, you could always give a fake name, but most people don't. I do get a kick out of saying my name is Wendy at Wendy's. To all businesses, please stop this practice and go back to numbers. Maybe I will try telling them my name is No. 32. — Protect My Privacy
Dear Protect My Privacy: Your letter brings up a great point about safety. While it is not as personal, numbers seem like a better option.
Dear Annie: In response to the lady whose brother and sister-in-law fight in front of the kids about whether to invest money or pay off the mortgage earlier, there is an easy solution. It is true that there are benefits to both sides of the argument, so why not compromise?
They can mutually decide on an amount they are comfortable with. The first month they can invest it, and the second month it goes toward the principle on their mortgage. It should make both of them happy and everyone wins, especially the kids when peace is restored in the family. — A Retired Financial Planner
Dear Retired Financial Planner: I always love hearing from professionals in their field. Compromising is a healthy solution in most relationships, and your suggestion is a good one.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]