Dear Carson: I, for one, am so delighted to see signs and notices on some menus in restaurants that forbid the use of cell phones in their dining rooms. Won't you please opine on cell phone etiquette or the lack thereof. - Cell Phone Courtesy
Dear Cell: The use of cell phones has become so prevalent in the past five or 10 years that I wonder what people used to do without them. One does not, however, see many pay phones these days. Some users speak unnaturally loud, not being mindful of those around them who would just as soon not listen to the details of their conversations. Such people get their needs met at the expense of others by ignoring their present company to carry on long or conversations with others.
Cell phones should not be used in restaurants, at golf courses, seminars, church services, funerals, meetings or any type of social gathering. True, they can save time and lives at times, but they should, as in all things, be used in moderation.
Dear Carson: When leaving on a pleasure trip, is proper protocol to telephone friends and family before leaving and then again upon return? Or, should I be waiting for them to call me and ask how my trip was? Thank you, in advance, for your response. - Going Away Greetings
Dear Going Away: Most of your good friends and close family already know that you're going away. Don't stand on ceremony, but call those whom you think may need to know. Have a good time and don't worry too much about who calls whom.
Dear Carson: My boyfriend's father recently passed away. I've known the family since I was 3 years old. I've been to only one funeral when I was very young, and at that time I was not old enough to choose what I was going to wear. Can you tell me what is appropriate to wear to a funeral? Thanks. - Funeral Fashion
Dear FF: While black, brown or gray are no longer mandatory colors, I would eschew anything bright or flashy. Party type or overly leisurely clothing also is inappropriate. Shorts and jeans should not be worn. Dress in a somber and respectful manner.
Dear Carson: How long should one wait before sending a thank-you card after a funeral? My family is, unbelievably, in a huge debate over this, and I just want to simmer them down. Thanks. - Timely Thanks
Dear Timely: Any note that expresses your appreciation should be written as soon as possible.
Confidential to Country Accent: I certainly did not mean any disrespect, but there is a different inflection between the rural and urban accents.