I’m not mad

The d-blogosphere was all abuzz yesterday with anger. Anger towards one “Miss Manners”, who suggested that a gentle reader retreat to the airplane’s lavatory in order to test his blood sugar.

I, for one, am not angry. The author’s nom de plume is all about manners; about making others around you feel comfortable. And, in the name of comfort and serenity, I’m sure the person sitting next to me on a plane would prefer that I didn’t bleed all over the place. (With that said, I’m also sure this person wouldn’t want me pushing my way through from the window seat so often; but Miss Manners didn’t address this alternative, so neither shall I).

Miss Manners is a syndicated newspaper columnist who expresses opinions. She is neither legislator nor enforcer, and nobody is under any obligation or commitment to comply with her wishes. She doesn’t make rules. Let’s not forget that.

Again, manners are about how one displays themselves to others, not about how one behaves in private. I’m sure she would have no problem if I burped, scratched myself, or farted in the privacy of my own home, but there are manners which forbid such behavior in public. In fact, I’m quite sure that manners forbid the very use of the term burp and fart — it is much more polite to express these acts via kindler, gentler terms, such as “belch” or “pass gas.”

But I’m no Mister Manners. Sometimes I can’t help but to let one rip in public. Sometimes I use my fingers to catch the toppings that fell from my sandwich, and then I wipe my whole mouth with my napkin rather than eloquently dab my lips with it. Oftentimes, my elbows (or at least my forearms) are on the table. At times, I tend to interrupt people when they speak. I also will test my blood sugar while sitting on a plane, walking on the sidewalk, or riding the subway (though I’ll wait an “acceptable” amount of time before grabbing the pole with the hand I just bled from. How much time is “acceptable” has yet to be determined).

I apologize for none of those acts — except for the interrupting of others. I really need to work on that.

Likewise, I acknowledge that all of these things can make someone else feel uncomfortable, squeamish, or grossed out. But I don’t live solely to make other people’s surroundings more pleasant; I’ve got my own things to take care of. And if that means sacrificing some rules of etiquette in the name of efficiency, then I recognize that. In practice, my manners have flaws, and rather than correct them, I choose to accept them.

Miss Manners may draw the line when it comes to drawing blood in the overall context of “manners”. I can understand and respect her position.

And I promise: when I step over that line, I’ll do it as discretely as possible.

(Besides, I just don’t have the energy to be consumed by anger over these things.)

Posted on February 21, 2014, in Diabetes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Great post!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I, like you, can respect her opinion as well as that of others.
    Although I do not always do these jobs as discretely as “Miss Manners” suggests I do try not to invade others with my kit and needs – as I can understand some feel uncomfortable with this!
    Well balanced views – thank you! I’m not alone in feeling unperturbed by her comment!

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  2. Thank you for this, Scott. I agree that we must decide for ourselves what is appropriate.

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  3. I am with you on this one. I don’t want my son to be ashamed of his diabetes, but at the same time I want him to be respectful of others. His best friend, who is his diabetes champion, has a real phobia of blood. So when Ben needs to check his BG he always makes sure his buddy isn’t watching or even leaves the room. He does this not out of shame but instead out of love and respect for his friend …

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    • I think this is exactly how it should be done. But if he’s sitting next to a complete stranger, how would he know how that person would respond? Do you ask, or just be discreet?

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  4. Hi Scott!

    I agree with you and really enjoyed this post. I didn’t get mad either.

    As I continue growing further from my diagnosis and easing more into my diabetic life, I can see how the anger can just consume you and eat you up. I think it’s something I’m very conscious of these days. With the anxiety and depression, I am very careful not to let myself get into fits of rage. As a “newly diagnosed” person, I find it very easy to get to that place, and it’s no fun.

    Thanks for sharing. All the best! Looking forward to your next post.

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  5. Very smart: she doesn’t make the rules.

    And without intending to jump on the anti-Miss M bandwagon…does anyone even care what she says? I think it was just that the airplane passenger sounded like such a sweetheart, and then she went all priggy-superior on him, and the reader had the feeling *he* cared what she thought, and so it was heartbreaking. It’s always rude to sound superior and certain, but especially when someone who looks up to you comes to you for help.

    The more I think about it, the more I am sure this airplane man does not exist, and Miss M. just wanted to complain about public bloodletting, and so she faked the letter.

    I read Real Simple magazine this week and one article criticized readers for TEXTING in the bathroom. Not for *talking* while using the bathroom, but *texting*. That broke my heart a tiny bit.

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  6. I am totally in love with the post and I feel much the same way. Well said!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Miss Manners is a BUSINESS. | t1dactiveliving

  2. Pingback: A Response from Miss Manners, and Her Son with T1 Diabetes (!) : DiabetesMine: the all things diabetes blog

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