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Miss Manners: Jumping to conclusions about friendly neighbor

Miss Manners: Jumping to conclusions about friendly neighbor

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Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are in our mid-70s and live in a condo townhouse development. Six months ago, I went to the hospital by ambulance after an outpatient procedure was botched. After two weeks, I came home and spent several months recovering.

Several neighbors saw the ambulance, noticed that I wasn’t around, and expressed their concern, or curiosity, to my husband. Friends with whom we’d visited seemed genuinely concerned, so we told them the specifics of my condition. Others with whom we have only a nodding acquaintance, not a social relationship, seemed inquisitive and gossipy. To them, my husband said I was doing well, and didn’t provide details.

I am now pretty much back to normal. I go for walks in the area almost every day, and see our fellow condo dwellers around. One homeowner, whom we knew slightly and liked, seemed genuinely happy to see me up and around.

However, shortly after that, she stopped my husband on the way to the mailbox and said that she and her husband were looking to replace their car and would like to buy one secondhand from someone they knew. Were we interested in selling one of our cars to them? He said no.

I think she has one hell of a nerve. She has her eye on my vehicle, the newer of our two. While I was recovering, my husband usually drove my car, but I’ve been driving again lately. We don’t need two cars, but our plan is to hang onto both until one can’t be repaired anymore.

Having found out the (rather serious) nature of my health issue and assessed my age, she sees an opportunity to benefit from my situation, to swoop in like a vulture. Furthermore, I resent her asking my husband behind my back on the assumption that he makes the decisions about our automobiles.

I am disappointed in her and want to stay away from her from now on. What should I say if she brings up the subject again? “No means no”?

Gentle Reader: Are you sure you are all right? That is quite a leap you took, assuming that someone who rejoiced at your recovery now wants you dead so she can buy your car.

There is no evidence in your letter of your neighbor having done anything untoward, not even that she asked about it a second time. If she does, you need only say, “I thought Phil told you that it is not for sale.” And please, Miss Manners begs you; do not continue to conjure grisly scenarios.

Dear Miss Manners: I remember the not to wear a white dress as a guest to a wedding. The dress I’m considering is a white-background sundress: mostly white but with blue flowers, like a toile print.

It’s pretty, but does it compete with the bride?

Gentle Reader: That rule, not often obeyed these days, also prohibited black and red. It said nothing about blue flowers, and Miss Manners sees no danger of anyone mistaking this for a wedding dress.

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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