Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Backroads Miz Manners Touches Upon a Delicate Situation

Dear Backroads Miz Manners:

Is there a polite way to tell someone to stop staring at you?

Not a Two-Headed Freak

Dear One-Headed Freak,

I've found that the best antidote for what's ailing you is to meet the starer's stare and inquire with all the sweetness you can summon from the depths of your dark, dark soul: "May I HELP you?" The ogler will generally drop her gaze and shuffled along, head down.

This method has been carefully researched. Other attempts were not so successful. Consider, if you will, the following example.

Perhaps one has just returned to her large SUV after picking up her routine prescribed medications at the pharmacy. Suppose, upon reaching into her shirt pocket to extract her debit card, which she had carried in an effort to avoid toting her purse, she accidentally left a line of black ink with the pen she clutched in her fingers to write the receipt amount in her checkbook. 

As any woman who refuses to carry a Tide Pen because of her aversion to that Super Bowl commercial with the talking shirt-stain upstaging an interviewee trying to land a job knows...GermX makes a great impromptu stain-remover. One could theoretically dab GermX over and over onto that ink, and remove it before even firing up the large SUV. That event would be considered private. After all, it occurs behind closed windows.

Suppose a Nosy Nelly chose that moment to traipse across the lot from The Dollar Tree, gooning into the confines of one's automobile. Tactics which should be avoided, proven by trial and error, consist of the following:

1-Frown at Nosy Nelly, snarling, "What the eff are YOU lookin' at?"

2-Say to oneself out loud, "Who the eff do you think you are, staring at me like that while I'm in my own car, minding my own business?"

3-Roll down the window and shout, "Take a picture, it'll last longer!"

4-Honk one's automobile horn as Nosy Nelly walks in front of one's car.

5-Go all Jerry Seinfeld in The Pick, and stumble all over oneself explaining, "It's not what you think! I'm just rubbing some GermX into my pocket, trying to get rid of an ink stain!"

6-Open one's sunroof, stand up and poke one's head out, and scream, "Is my sitting here in my legally-parked automobile, cleaning my shirt and writing down the transaction for my prescription medication KEEPING YOU FROM TRYING TO SCAM THIS WEEK'S SUPPLY OF MUSCLE RELAXERS?"

You see, gentle reader, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Some more effective than others, but most of them outside the boundaries of polite society. Please temper you response in such a situation so as to avoid unnecessary drama.

Backroads Miz Manners


Sioux said...

Dear BMM,

In your column next week, could you advise about the proper etiquette when one finds one's self in a game of "Chicken" in the parking lot of K-Mart, with a car that is determined to go the wrong way in a one-way aisle? Please?

Not a Rage-a-holic

Bailey Hammond said...

That talking shirt stain, always messing with our minds. Personally, I prefer method number 6, but when I have other people with me, they tend to restrain me bodily. I like to *stare* as well. Not just regular "I could be looking past you" staring, but the creepier "I'm looking right at you, and I don't like what I see" kind of staring.

Mrs. Tuna said...

I would have flipped her off and been done with it. No words needed.

Val Thevictorian said...

Miz Manners assures me that she will take that under advisement for a future column.

My students call that The Stare of Death. Apparently, I have such a talent in my vast repertoire of people-influencing skills.

Mrs. Tuna,
Well, I'll be danged! Backroads Miz Manners plumb forgot the most pertinent tactic, which was foremost on her mind when she glided her tennis-ball-footed walker past her 18 cats, sat down at her old Smith-Corona, pulled her shawl tightly about her shoulders, and started to type.

#7-Use one's middle finger to scrub-a-dub-dub at that impertinent stain, while glowering at Nosy Nelly with one eyebrow arched, as in, "If you don't want a piece of this, you'd better high-tail it the eff outta here, Missy!"

Kathy's Klothesline said...

My sister loves these situations and will take the opportunity to "teach". She will don her haughtiest look and say to the intruder,"Did your mother not teach you that it is not polite to stare? Or were you raised by wolves?"

Val Thevictorian said...

I have a feeling that nobody ever stares at her twice.