WHEN LADIES and gentlemen were in the habit of taking afternoon strolls, they did not bump into one another and shout rude remarks to warn others to get out of the way. Miss Manners realizes that the world has sped up considerably in the last few years, but expects people to maintain this civility even though they are now jogging.
Miss Manners does not herself jog. She would not know how to manage her parasol while jogging in summer, nor her muff in winter. She is willing to allow the right of others to jog themselves silly, but only if they, in turn, respect the rights of those who choose other methods of mobility.
Recreational and utilitarian transportation in cities include the automobile, the motorcycle, the horse, the bicycle, the jogging foot and the walking foot. While there are specialized areas for these pursuits, such as streets, sidewalks, horse paths and bicycle paths, many of these places must be shared, and none of them belongs exclusively to the jogger.
Two traffic rules should prevail. First, that the slower mover keep to the right and the faster pass on the left, and second, that the stronger should yield to the weaker.
For example, a jogger pulls over to the right to let a bicyclist pass on the left. An automobile yields to a pedestrian, but so does a jogger, who should be stronger than the walker or else the jogger has poured out an awful lot of sweat for nothing.
An exception is when the stronger method of transportation is likely to go out of control if startled. Miss Manners would not advise joggers to scare the horses on the horsepaths. Even though joggers are weaker than horses, they tend to be brighter.
Nor is there a reason for joggers to do their jogging in places likely to frighten people. It is a poor idea to choose crowded streets for jogging, and if one does so, one must remember to yield to pedestrians. Joggers who do not wish to break their activity must jog in place until pedestrians have been allowed to pass.
If there should still be conflicts, the correct warning is, in a normal tone of voice, "Excuse me, please." Not "GET OUT OF MY WAY!"
The correct clothing for a jogger is a sports costume that clearly looks like a sports costume. No city can keep its self-respect if its streets filled with citizens who appear to be running around in their underwear.
And the correct thing to do with this clothing is to job it out of sight, putting it and oneself in the wash immediately after jogging. Nobody loves a stationary jogger. Miss Manners Responds
Q: I have heard that it is wrong to say "Congratulations" to a bride - that you can say it to the bridegroom, but are supposed to say "Best wishes" to the bride. Why is that?
A: Because of inequality in the marriage laws.
Q: I work in a small, rather close-knit office.We rarely see our boss, since he has retired to enjoy the profits which we work to produce. Four times a year, we receive a bonus out of the company profits. The others see this as a gift and send thank you notes to the boss. I feel we are entitled to these bonuses and that they only serve to cut the profit margin anyway. I have not sent any thank you notes. (I wonder if he even reads the others?) Am I wrong?
A: Miss Manners always believes in sending thank you notes.It encourages people to give more.
Q: Where should I put my purse in a restaurant?
A: Where you can keep an eye on it.
Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blueblack ink on white paper) to Miss Manners, The Washington Post.