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It’s Friday and it’s time for Amelia Hamilton to answer your most vexing questions about chatty teachers, unwanted guests, and good taste.
I’m taking voice lessons, and my teacher spends the first 10-15 minutes of each hour talking about personal things. Her online dating fiascos (yes, the guy she has been speaking to on the phone is in prison for murder one), her son, being sick, etc. I don’t want to be rude to her, but we aren’t friends. I’m paying her for this time. How can I politely get her to stop using my time for her personal issues?
Shut up and Sing
I have three ideas, starting with the most passive. When you walk in, say a friendly hello and dive right into a question about what you’re working on, or say you can’t wait to show her how you’ve navigated a tricky passage. Hopefully, that will head her off at the pass. Maybe tell her that you have to be sure to leave on time for another appointment, so you have to start the lesson on time this week. That should be a fairly clear signal that you’ve noticed you’re not getting your money’s worth.
Alternatively, when the lesson is scheduled to be over, say that you’re happy to stay a few moments late as the lesson didn’t begin on time. If these don’t work, you’ll just have to tell her that you that you need to get what you’re paying for. If you’d like, you could avoid confrontation by choosing another teacher, but my guess is that you chose this one for a reason and aren’t ready to do that just yet.
A friend came into town to visit and was going to stay with me for five days. On the day she was supposed to leave, she extended her trip for another 10 days. I love her dearly, but it’s just too much. I work from home, so this is incredibly disruptive. She has offered to leave so I can work, but wants my car and money because she ran out. I resent having to pay for quiet in my own home. How can I keep both my sanity and the friendship?
I assume said guest didn’t run this past you, or at least didn’t fully disclose the details before extending her trip. You’re in a tough situation. If you want to maintain this friendship, there’s not much that you can do. Does she have other friends in town with whom you might suggest she stay for a few days so you can get some work done? I think all you can do at this point is ensure this doesn’t happen in the future by setting clear boundaries if she wants to visit again. She can come for the time allotted, and perhaps rent a car, or your guest room is inexplicably unavailable every time she wants to come to stay. In the meantime, I think you’ll have to hide yourself in your office and turn up the white noise.
Is umami really a taste?
It is indeed, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami comes from the Japanese which means “pleasant savory taste,” which should pretty much tell you what it tastes like. Foods rich in umami include fish, cured meats, mushrooms, cheese, and soy sauce. Are you hungry yet?
Agree? Disagree? Have anything to add? Leave a comment! To ask a question, tweet using #AskAmHam or email [email protected]