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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Miss Conduct

Advice on not becoming the manners police

A note on not looking for rudeness everywhere. Plus, soliciting donations for the office candy bowl.

>At the dentist’s office, a patient was checking out while I sat reading the newspaper. She was having a hard time getting her next appointment into her hand-held. She finally asked the receptionist,

“Do you mind if I make a quick call?’’ I piped up, “You should ask me, too,’’ feeling as if I were part of the furniture as far as she was concerned. I pointed out that her car might be a better place for the call. She looked at me as if I were the rudest person she had ever encountered. Wasn’t she the person being inconsiderate? 

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