Stuffing a Brother-in-Law
We host an annual reunion for my husband’s family. His brother, an avid runner, has a voracious appetite. When he comes, he finishes almost everything we put out. Once, he ate five servings of salmon for lunch! My husband prefers that we simply count him as three people when we prepare food for the party. I would rather speak to him. Is it proper to comment on his intake?
Your husband is a wise man. Flare-ups between siblings are practically inevitable. (It is always wildfire season with mine.) Don’t light matches over issues as petty as portion control. You are free to blow up relationships with your own siblings, but stay out of your husband’s. Especially when he has concocted an elegant solution to feed his hungry brother and the other guests, too.
Take Your Nice Pills
I live in a high-rise building. We have three elevators, but there is often a wait. Recently I got onto the elevator in the lobby and pressed the button when I heard someone yell, “Hold the elevator!” Normally I would, but I was in a rush, so I didn’t. The woman sent her child running to hold the door. She proceeded to berate me for 10 floors. I responded calmly that I was in a hurry and that she could always catch the next elevator. This enraged her; her entitlement bothered me. How much kindness do I owe neighbors at the expense of my convenience?
We love our neighbors too. And when they turn up their music really loud, we invite the police to listen. I kid, because neighbors can have a big impact on the quality of our lives. When we are generous with them, they are more likely to be generous with us in return. Think of it as sacrifice born of self-interest.
No matter how foul a mood I’m in, I hold the elevator if someone asks or if I see someone coming. On top of that, I smile at neighbors when they saunter on board (excruciatingly slowly). It’s a small price to pay for community. My question for you: Exactly what kind of rush were you in that waiting 35 seconds would make a difference?
Leftovers, So Festive
My husband and I were invited to a backyard barbecue. Our hosts asked us to bring beer, which we did with pleasure. I also wanted to bring the leftover half of a delicious cake from our fridge. My husband insisted this would be in poor taste. So I deferred. And when I polled the party, I was shocked to find that many thought it would be downright rude. But I maintain that, among friends, bringing half a cake (in…