Q. Will you please try to help me with a discussion my wife and her friend have been having? When either one of the two goes away on a trip, who should do the calling first when the party going away returns? The party who took the trip, or the party who stayed home?

A. On the rare times that Miss Manners is tempted to say, "Oh, use your common sense," she tries to get a grip on herself. This is because etiquette is rarely a matter of common sense, and if it were, Miss Manners would be putting herself smack out of business if she encouraged people to use it, which fortunately they seldom do.

But come, come, my good man. Travel plans change all the time, for one reason or another, and surely it makes sense for the traveler to call and say, "Hi, I'm home." It also is more polite than calling and saying, "Ah, so you are home! I thought you might be because I saw the lights on, but I didn't want to seem nosy in case it was burglars or something."

Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.