Dear Annie: The Right of Way

The Right of Way

Dear Annie: Why do some people stand in your way — in restaurant waiting areas, on sidewalks, etc. — and refuse to move? When they’re blocking you, what is the correct way to get past them?

One incident I had a few weeks ago: We were exiting a restaurant and this man was standing right in the way of the somewhat narrow path, saw us coming and turned his back but did not budge.

I had to touch him to get out and he started yelling at me. He was a mature man and I am a 66-year-old lady. I know times have changed, but isn’t it just common courtesy to move if you have plenty of room to let people get by?

It really infuriates me that some people think they are so entitled that other people have to move for them!

I would just like to know your opinion on this situation.

— Debbie

Dear Debbie: In all fairness, it cuts both ways. You’re expecting others to move for you, too, right? Regardless, try to keep in mind that the best test of good manners is patience with bad ones. The next time you find yourself needing to navigate around someone who’s acting like a bump on a log, simply say the two magic words — “Excuse me” — and then move around them and on with your day.

Dear Annie: I recently found out about the passing of one of my sister’s in-laws. I have known this gentleman for many years, and while my encounters with him were generally limited to family functions, the events of his death hit me hard. You can say it was a wakeup call for me, and I wanted to share his story.

He was a very hardworking man, climbing his way up the chain in the insurance business. After working in the corporate world for many years, he finally saved enough money to break out on his own and open his own business. He was able to work for himself and built up a stable client list that sustained his family for many years.

He was very successful, but his life was focused solely on his work, and he spent six to seven days a week at the office.

He finally decided to retire in 2018. He sold his business, and he and his wife were planning to finally travel to all the places they had always wanted to go.

This is where the story takes a turn. He entered the hospital for a routine procedure shortly after his retirement and never left. He never quite recovered, and his body started turning against him.

Last week, the hospital had decided to release him and allow him to spend the rest of his days in the comfort of his home, but he never made it home. The very night before he was planning to go home, he passed away.

I have tears in my eyes thinking about this. I am so sad for him, and for his wife.

There is something to be said about his work ethic, but in this case, it robbed him of a full life. The lesson for me is to enjoy life to its fullest every single day. Don’t put off doing something until later. Do it now. Work is necessary, but so is spending time with loved ones and doing activities that bring you joy.

I hope you can help me spread the word.

— Sad but Wiser

Dear Sad: Thank you for this incredibly beautiful letter. Our time is precious and we should spend as much of it with loved ones as is possible.

“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 dearannie@creators.com.


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