Oct. 17, 2022

Eating Sushi Properly, Donating Items to Charity, Arguing During Zumba Class, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating sushi the right way, donating items to charity, arguing during Zumba class, and much more.

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating sushi the right way, donating items to charity, arguing during Zumba class, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

Have a question for us? Call or text (267) CALL-RBW or visit ask.wyrbw.com



  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Donating items to charity
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should my daughter bring a gift to a last-minute birthday party?
  • VENT OR REPENT: An argument during Zumba class, Using the squat rack
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: A keepsake for Lacey, A nice review







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 158


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Nick: Do you eat your sushi the wrong way? Do you donate garbage to charity? Do you text in the squat rack? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better

When we have to live together

We can all use a little help

So people don't ask themselves

Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: [singing] Let's get in the amuse-bouche.

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about sushi.

Leah: Which I love, and I'm already nervous because I bet I'm doing a lot of things wrong. As soon as you said it, I got hungry and anxious at the same time.

Nick: So sushi is a big category, and there's a lot to say about it. But for today, I just want to talk about some headlines, some big topics, some big overarching themes. So Leah, do you like sushi? Do you eat sushi?

Leah: I love sushi.

Nick: And so in previous episodes, we have actually touched on sushi-adjacent topics like chopsticks in a Japanese restaurant or the towel, oshibori. Do you remember, like, what not to do with the chopsticks?

Leah: Oh, I do. I don't do—for those of you at home, I'm ...

Nick: Yeah. You don't rub them against each other.

Leah: I'm not sharpening them.

Nick: And with the oshibori, the towel?

Leah: I don't eat it.

Nick: You don't eat it. That is true. So let's start with the accessories that you'll get at a sushi restaurant. So ginger, I think the main thing to note is that this is a palate cleanser, this is not a garnish. You do not add it to your sushi. You eat it between sushi. So I think that's just like the key thing to note.

Leah: Well, I have been doing that wrong, A), and I love it on my sushi. Do I have to stop? I love ginger. I would just eat—I've ordered ginger.

Nick: So you're putting ginger on pieces of sushi, and then eating sushi and ginger together in one bite?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: This is what's happening?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Well, etiquette is like poetry—you are allowed to break the rules once you know them. So just know that that is not what is intended with the ginger.

Leah: Maybe next time I'll make an announcement. "I know I'm supposed to be eating this in between, but I need it in every bite."

Nick: I mean, on some level, with everything in life, if you like it a certain way, have at it. I mean, it doesn't affect my life. So do it.

Leah: Is it between—you're cleansing between sushi bites? Or you're cleansing between sushi and another ...

Nick: Well, I think for today's purposes, I'm thinking like, oh, we are in a sushi bar in Tokyo, or we're just having, like, sushi as, like, the meal that we're having. So I have a piece of sushi, and now I am not eating a piece of sushi, and I might be switching to a different type. Like, I'm going from one type of sushi to another type of fish, and I want to cleanse my palate in between, I will eat a little ginger to do that.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: That's what I'm thinking. Yeah, it's a palate cleanser. You know, like you do.

Leah: Like one does.

Nick: And so now I'm a little nervous about the other rules that we're gonna review. [laughs]

Leah: Oh, you should be nervous. You should be nervous because ...

Nick: I thought ginger was kind of the gimme, but okay.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: With soy ...

Leah: I feel like you should know this about me, there are no gimmes.

Nick: Yeah, but I guess we shouldn't assume. It's rude to assume, so I apologize. With soy, it is very rude to waste soy sauce. In Japan, it's considered very rude. So you really only want to pour just enough soy that you need. And if you pour a huge amount of soy sauce in a dish, it does send the signal which is like, "Oh, I think that the fish you have back there isn't fresh, and I'm gonna have to doctor it up with all the soy sauce. And so that's why I need so much soy sauce." So that's like something to note is just like, oh, that kind of sends that signal. And you don't add wasabi to the soy sauce. Is that a thing you do?

Leah: Of course it is. I don't overpour the soy sauce, I pour just enough soy sauce to mix a whole mound of wasabi, which I call "Fire in the nose."

Nick: [laughs] Okay. So the reason I think why it's not typically done, why we don't typically add wasabi to soy sauce, is that in a lot of sushi places—at least better sushi places—I mean, if you're ordering off of a touch screen and it's brought to you by a robot then, like, I guess do whatever you want. But if it's like a nicer sushi place, the soy sauce that you're getting, it is not like Kikkoman out of the big vat. Like, it's probably made in house, and it's designed to be like the perfect balance to everything else that's being served. It's, like, designed as a compatible component. And so the flavor of this sauce is like the balance that the sushi chef believes is optimal. And so by adding anything to it, you're changing that, and that's not exactly the chef's vision. It's kind of like adding salt to a dish or adding, like, ketchup to a steak. It's just like that wasn't the vision of the chef.

Nick: Now if you have a different vision for how you like your sushi, I guess that's fine. But when you're going to a sushi restaurant, generally speaking, you want to experience the point of view of this sushi chef, and so you wouldn't want to modify unnecessarily what's happening. I think that's the thrust of this sort of rule.

Leah: I absolutely get that, and I think that I'll just be open with you right now and say that I've probably never been to a place where they made their own soy sauce.

Nick: Okay. In which case we have room to grow.

Leah: I look forward to this experience. And now I know: don't make a lake of soy and add a pound of wasabi to it.

Nick: And I guess I hesitate to add ...

Leah: Just add it and I'll say I'm doing it wrong. [laughs]

Nick: You just dip into the soy sauce. We don't drizzle on top of sushi.

Leah: Oh, I'm not drizzling.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'm doing a light dip. Boop boop!

Nick: Okay. Yeah.

Leah: I'm not doing a drop or a plop or a—I'm doing a dip.

Nick: Okay, great. Yeah. That's ...

Leah: That's one out of four.

Nick: When you dip I dip, we dip. We're just dipping. No drizzling. Okay.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So there's a lot of different types of sushi in the world. And when you think of sushi, what you're probably picturing in your head is a little mound of rice with, like, a piece of fish on top or something. That's the emoji. If you're gonna do the sushi emoji, that's what it is. And so this is nigiri sushi. That's what that's called. And here's how you eat it. You can use chopsticks, but you are allowed to use your hands. You can use your hands. And when we go to that Michelin-starred sushi bar in Tokyo, Leah, we can use our hands. It is perfectly fine in a refined setting to eat nigiri sushi with your fingers.

Leah: I can't wait!

Nick: And so you can do that. And you should eat it immediately. You should eat it while the rice is warm, while the fat in the fish is still warm from the sushi chef's hand. Like, eat it immediately. And it's one bite. It's a one-bite thing. We don't bite it in half. We don't separate the fish from the rice. We don't cut it. It's one bite. Now in the United States, that can be easier said than done because sushi, you know, bigger is better? There is sushi in the United States that is so enormous it's like a Twinkie, and you're like, "I can't eat this in one bite."

Leah: Oh, some of these rolls are like ...

Nick: Right. So if that's the case, you are not held responsible from an etiquette perspective for the crimes of your chef.

Leah: Of eating a Yule log of sushi. [laughs]

Nick: Right? Yes, a buche de noel.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And so you just have to do the best you can. But in Japan, it really will be one bite. And a sushi chef will actually probably look at you and, like, try to determine, like, what size it should be for you. So they do customize it a little bit.

Leah: Wow, the artistry!

Nick: So if you look like you got a real big mouth, okay. If you have a very small mouth, you know, they might actually, like, size it accordingly. And so with wasabi, there's actually probably already wasabi on it. Generally speaking, it will already come pre-wasabi-ed, and so you do not need to add wasabi to it. And so that's something to note. Now if you do like a little more heat, that's fine. At a better place, you probably want to sneak that in because that would be kind of like adding salt to a dish in front of a chef, which is like, "Oh, this is not seasoned properly." So you want to be discreet about it.

Nick: And now we get to soy. So in better places, it actually will already come brushed with soy on the top, in which case you do not actually need to do any soy yourself. And in some places, they don't even offer soy. Or if they do, it's sort of like "We have it here but, like, you probably shouldn't need it."

Leah: It's like ketchup on your steak fries in a nice ...

Nick: Yeah, it's just kind of like, oh, no, we've actually already presented this thing to you in the optimal way, and so it requires nothing else other than for you to eat it. But if you do want to do soy—and let's be honest, how often are we eating at Jiro in Tokyo, right? I mean, mostly when I'm having sushi, I'm on my couch and I'm watching Love Island. And this is not precious sushi, which is like, oh, it doesn't need soy. No, it needs soy. It was in a bike messenger backpack for the last half hour before it got to my house.

Leah: Before it got to your house from the 7-Eleven, where ...

Nick: Right? That's where I get my—that is where I get my sushi, yes. 7-Eleven.

Leah: They do have it.

Nick: I hear.

Leah: Just roll the dice.

Nick: Yeah. You feeling lucky?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: That's the seven. So with the soy though, okay, let's say you have sushi and you want to have some soy in it, okay, great. So if you're using your hands, you would pick up the sushi, and what you would want to do is you actually want to flip it over, and you'd want to dip the fish side into the soy. You don't want to dip the rice side, because the rice will typically soak up too much soy too fast, and the soy will kind of overwhelm all the flavors. And also, you could loosen all the rice and you actually might, like, have it crumble. So you actually want to put the fish side or whatever the topping is into the soy and dip it very lightly.

Nick: If you're using your chopsticks, you'll want to tilt the sushi onto the side, and then you'll want to pinch the topping, the fish, with one side of the chopstick and then the bottom with the other chopstick to keep it together. And then you would dip the fish side down in the soy as well, and then you would eat it. Some people like eating it with the fish on your tongue side, and they say that, like, oh, that enhances the flavor. That's better. I think a lot of people are like, that's actually not a thing. Like, you could do it if you want but, like, that's actually not, like, better etiquette. And Jiro actually was like, "Don't do that." He's like—no, he's not a fan of, like, flipping it over. I tried it. I was like, maybe it tastes different. I didn't notice a difference. It didn't make any difference to me. Some people are like, "Oh, the temperature of the rice is different from the fish, and so when you do it this way—" but by the time that 7-Eleven sushi made it to my house, like, temperature was not really a concern.

Nick: But it is the thing that people say is better etiquette. It is not better etiquette, it is just a thing that people do. Whether or not you should or not, I can't weigh in. But just letting you know, you might see it out there in the wild.

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: And then with other types of sushi, like, there's maki, which is like the rolls. That does have rice, and so the idea of, like, oh, not getting too much soy into the rice is still applicable. And so some people will actually dip the seaweed side rather than the rice side. Some people will just dip a corner just to get a little soy in there. But you want to just be quick about it, and you don't want to just soak it too much to, like, overwhelm the flavor with soy. So that's kind of the idea there. There's also the type of sushi that's kind of like the battleship. It's wrapped in seaweed around the sides and then there's usually something loose on top like roe or something. And so a question comes up which is like, "Oh, how do I get soy on that? Because, like, I can't flip that over, and what am I supposed to do?" And so what some people do, including the famous Jiro—and if you don't know who I'm talking about, Jiro is the guy who had the documentary made about him, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. And so he got very famous, and he has sort of a very famous sushi restaurant in Tokyo. And so a lot of people look to him for sushi advice, I guess. And so he says one of the things you can do is you take a piece of ginger, and you dip that in the soy, and like a paintbrush, you paint soy on top of the sushi piece.

Leah: Wow!

Nick: And he actually suggests doing that for all types of sushi. He doesn't even like pinching it with chopsticks and flipping it over. He thinks that's very déclassé, because his sushi already comes pre-soy-ed and is perfect, and each one is like a precious jewel, and so why would you ever flip it over? But if for some reason you had to add soy, he would rather use the paintbrush method on all pieces. I don't think you need to do that when you're on your couch at home, but that is the thing that is done, I guess.

Leah: One could also practice it on their couch at home so they felt comfortable when they took it out into the public.

Nick: That's true. Now there are some Japanese etiquette experts who are like, "Oh, this paintbrush thing? It's a little déclassé." Oh, did I already say "déclassé?" Is that like the word of the day?

Leah: You did, yes, because I was thinking I should have a shirt that says "Déclassé," and you could have a shirt that says "Classé."

Nick: [laughs] Oh, I kind of love that!

Leah: I think this would be the perfect choice for us, and maybe some of our listeners who have a partnership where one is classé and one is déclassé. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Oh, that's amazing. Oh, by the time this episode airs, this will be available at our store. So check that out, everybody. Oh, I'm gonna design this tonight.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: And so lastly, let's just talk about sashimi, which is like in the world—it is in the world—and that is basically just fish without the rice part. And so we do not use our fingers for this. We do need chopsticks. And the idea is that we do dip in soy and we do add wasabi manually to the piece. So just a little dollop. We can put it on the piece of fish. We do not make that mixture again. Now I will say, Leah, though, there are some sushi chefs who are like, "Oh, go for it. It's fine. You can make your little wasabi-soy soup if you want, which, you know, there's as many people as rules. But generally speaking, we will add the wasabi manually. And it's also one bite, same idea. We're not gonna be, like, chewing it in half. It's just like a one-bite experience.

Leah: I love sashimi in a wasabi-soy soup.

Nick: I mean, do what you like. My role here is just to let you know what is generally done—with exceptions, of course—in the world. But you do you.

Leah: I'm gonna give it a try. I'm absolutely gonna try a sprinkle, a breath of soy with wasabi coming in separately on the top.

Nick: So obviously this isn't everything with sushi, but I think this is a very good start.

Leah: This is a very good start. I've learned—I mean, what a curve.

Nick: Yeah, I'm so glad to have expanded your sushi horizons.

Leah: Also, I'm so hungry!

Nick: Yeah, I actually will have sushi tonight after I make those t-shirts.

Leah: Mmm!

Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Deep and dropping off.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about dropping things off at a thrift store.

Leah: And I think we could even expand that to donating things.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Where they should be going, because I think that's a very large portion of this: is that where that should be going?

Nick: [laughs] Right. And who among us has achieved perfect minimalism, right? Who has nothing extraneous in their lives? You still have a Teddy Ruxpin.

Leah: I never had a Teddy Ruxpin.

Nick: [gasps] No? Oh, deprived childhood!

Leah: [laughs] I don't think so. I don't think I ever wanted one.

Nick: No, probably not. They're kind of creepy.

Leah: [laughs] It kind of makes me—I'd be like, "Why are you talking?"

Nick: Okay, so no Teddy Ruxpin. But you certainly have extraneous things in your house.

Leah: Yeah. Well, I would say that I'm not actually going for minimalism.

Nick: Oh, that is also a good point. Yeah, that's fair.

Leah: So they're not extraneous, they are loved.

Nick: Fair enough. Okay.

Leah: That being said, I often take things to various donation giveaway places.

Nick: So the first question is: is it trash?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Should you be donating this thing? Is it a bucket of broken glass, and you're like, "Someone will want this?" No. No one wants your garbage.

Leah: But I—this is a quick—if it is something that's like you're trying not to just put it in a landfill, I get that and I understand that, but find the correct place for it. It doesn't go to Goodwill if it's a bucket of broken glass.

Nick: Right. Yeah. And I guess that's the theme. It's just find the right home, and that's really the first step.

Leah: Find the right home is it.

Nick: What is this thing, and where is the best place, where can it do the most good?

Leah: Because there are people that they're probably like—they make art out of glass or somebody's, like, doing a—that all possibly exists. That's not the drop off at the Salvation Army or the Goodwill.

Nick: Right. Yeah. And that's, I think, the key thing. So I think before you donate anything to a place near your house, find out, oh, what are they accepting and not accepting right now? And see what's on that list.

Leah: I often break my things up because they're very specific, like, for women's organizations or women going back to work. They don't have interview clothes. I have, like, that place where I drop off. I have one that's like for women who are currently in a shelter and they need more, like, undergarments. Then I have, like, my regular drop off for Goodwill.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think there's definitely a home for most things. And then there's just textile recycling. So for something that just, like, cannot be resold—it has missing buttons, it's soiled, there's rips in it, then there's a whole world of just textile recycling out there.

Leah: And also this may not be applicable, but I'm just gonna throw it out there. The library has—like, this is not stuff, but it is things that accumulate. I have switched to rechargeable batteries, but I do sometimes have a battery that runs out. I save it, I take it to the library. I also have told people in my building, "I'll take your stuff to the library."

Nick: Okay. And I know, like, when I have used towels and stuff that, like, nobody's gonna want at Goodwill, there's actually an animal shelter in the neighborhood that loves used towels and blankets and bedding and stuff like that. And so animal shelters is a great place for that kind of stuff.

Leah: Recently, I have, like, shoes that I—I plow through shoes from exercising and, like, people don't need beat up shoes at Goodwill, but there are places where they're just looking for sneakers. They don't care what shape they're in. It's just find the right place.

Nick: Right. Just make sure you donate two. Nobody wants one sneaker.

Leah: I mean ...

Nick: This happens!

Leah: I would hope.

Nick: Yeah, where they're just like, "Oh, here's a shoe."

Leah: Yeah, don't just be like, "I didn't want to take this to the trash." That's just not polite.

Nick: Yeah, that is rude. Speaking of which ...

Leah: Speaking of which, places have times that are for the drop off, and if you call, it's on their websites. Like, I recently took my stuff to a new place. I looked on their website. They said a certain time, I got there. It wasn't that time. There was a sign saying, "Now we're only open from this time to this time." I saw people driving up, seeing the sign, being irritated and just dropping their stuff on the sidewalk. It's like, No, no, no!"

Nick: No. That's not what we do. No.

Leah: Take it back, and you come back at the time that they're open, even though it's annoying or whatever, because you scheduled it. We do not leave it on the sidewalk.

Nick: Yeah, that's called dumping, and that is illegal.

Leah: You might as well have just thrown it in the trash.

Nick: Yes. And let's say they're open that day and it rains. Now you've actually, like, ruined all this stuff. Now you've left a mound of wet trash, and now you've actually wasted more of their time and resources taking care of your garbage.

Leah: Yeah. So I put it back in the car, leave it in the trunk, go back.

Nick: And then another thing on my list is: make your donations seasonal if possible. Like winter coats? Like, no one has room to store a wool coat in July. Like, Salvation Army doesn't have room for this. And so if you can hold your donations until, like, the season when it might actually be used, that's ideal. So if you can kind of keep it in your closet for a little while until, like, it could actually be sold or used kind of immediately, that's what you should aim for.

Leah: I mean, that's ideal, but I understand if you can't do that. I also am gonna throw a thing out there.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I recently had to go to somewhere cold in the middle of the summer, and I was like, "Where am I gonna get this jacket?"

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And I was like, "Hope Goodwill has something."

Nick: Yeah, that's true. Because you actually brought none of your winter stuff to Los Angeles, did you?

Leah: I brought none of it. And then multiple cold places.

Nick: Although when you, like, fly home to Maine at Christmas, you got to, like, get off the airplane. Like, what happens?

Leah: My parents put the jacket in the car, and then I slip right into it.

Nick: Okay. I guess that works.

Leah: Of course!

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And another thing to note is that you should always wash the item before you donate it.

Nick: Yeah. Even stuff that's clean in your closet. Like, if it's been in the back of your closet for a year, like, it could still be a little dusty or mildewy.

Leah: Just give it a washskis.

Nick: Yeah. And ideally, like, don't use detergent that has fragrance and, like, skip the fabric softener.

Leah: I mean, Nick is taking this up so many levels.

Nick: Well, I mean, can we not? I'm just saying. And then just a good thing to do is check your pockets before you donate something.

Leah: I always check my pockets when I buy something at thrift stores because I hope there's a treasure map in there or something like, "Whoo! Can't believe this was in the pocket!"

Nick: Has there been anything good?

Leah: No, but I'm still looking.

Nick: Fingers crossed! So in the end, I think this is just a nice reminder that for anything in life, including donating to charity, that we just want to be mindful. Just a reminder to be mindful.

Leah: I love that.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: That's all we need.

Leah: Being mindful is the biggest donation we have to give.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: That's nice. That's actually very nice. [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: So our first question is quote, "It's 7:45 p.m. where I live, and I just received a text from a fellow mom. One of her daughters is turning 11 tomorrow and is having a pool party at their swanky club. She texted me and another mom saying her 13-year-old daughter—the older sister of the birthday girl—would love it if our 13-year-old daughters could come. These three older girls are best friends. It is a last-minute invitation and it's not worded as if they are the birthday girl's guests, but more like they're to hang out with the older sister who has to go. Do you think it's necessary to bring a gift for the birthday girl? I don't really have time to go out tonight and I'm gone all day tomorrow. My husband will be dropping our daughter off. We could put some cash in a card if you think we shouldn't show up empty handed. Help!"

Leah: I assume you wrote back in real time.

Nick: I did. This did seem very urgent. And so I know what I said. What would you say, Leah?

Leah: Well, I had what I was originally gonna say the first time I read it and thought about it.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But something else just popped into my head this time when you read it.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I almost feel—well, let me say first what just popped into my head right now.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: It was that I almost feel—I obviously know this mom. Obviously, what's happening is the younger daughter is having a party, and then as it's stated, your daughter is gonna go hang out with the older kids because they're friends and they need something to do during this party.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I think we could text back the mom and say, "Hey, I'm not in tonight. Should she bring something?"

Nick: Oh, okay. To ask, to clarify? Sure.

Leah: To clarify. That was something that just popped into my head right now. But what I originally thought was, I don't think you need to bring cash.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But I do think they could—if it made you feel more comfortable, they could swing by a store and grab a card and say "Thanks for inviting me out on your day. Wishing you the happiest of birthdays."

Nick: Right.

Leah: "Love, blank." Or not love. Whatever you say. "Wish you the happiest of birthdays, Sarah."

Nick: Yeah. I think that was basically what I said, which was like, your daughter is attending this event and is probably gonna eat the cake. Like, they're probably gonna have a piece of cake. And so they are attendees of this event. Even if they're not there for the guest of honor, they're at the event. And so it would be nice if you would acknowledge the guest of honor in some way. And so yeah, I think a card would be nice. And it sounds like from our letter that they actually have cards in their stationery wardrobe at home already, which is a good reminder for why we should always have cards at home, because you never know when you may need a card. But yeah, if you could just, like, swing by a grocery store or a—where else do you buy cards? I don't know. I always just have a stationary wardrobe. I haven't bought cards in a long time.

Leah: Pharmacies is really where it's hopping.

Nick: Pharmacy. Yes, pharmacy. I only have my stationery engraved. So what do I know?

Leah: Of course.

Nick: [laughs] But yes, a pharmacy. Pick up a birthday card, yeah. Because I think that would be very nice to, like, roll into the party and you see the birthday girl and you're like, "Happy birthday. So glad to be here. Here's a card. Happy birthday." And then you go off and do whatever you want. But, like, you can't roll into that party and not, like, say happy birthday to this person. So it's nice to, like, hand them something in that moment.

Leah: Yeah, I think so. And I don't think there needs to be money in it. It's just like a happy birthday.

Nick: Yeah. I don't think you need money or a gift card, but I think we want to just acknowledge. And acknowledge in writing is very nice and thoughtful.

Leah: I love it when we're on the same page.

Nick: Yeah. So do you have questions for us? Let us know! You can let us know through our website, WereYouRaisedByWolves.com, or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message—like this mom did— at (267) CALL-RBW.

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: [whispers] Vent or repent!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently. Or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: You know, this is a vent, but also it was such a culmination ...

Nick: Oh?

Leah: ... that it's almost like sharing gossip at this point. Do you know what I mean?

Nick: Oh, I'm in! [laughs] All right, let's hear it.

Leah: So I think our listeners know my obsession with group fitness classes.

Nick: We're aware.

Leah: And I've been updating our Patreon about some Zumba situations.

Nick: Mmm.

Leah: I love the Zumba. And it's gotten so much more competitive. Not competitive, but high intensity moving out here to Los Angeles. So there's been a lot of happening in Zumba. So this week, we had a fight in Zumba class, and ...

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: ... I really feel like it was so much—like that's exactly. That it was so much that I couldn't even ...

Nick: Just because to make sure I heard it right. You're in a Zumba class.

Leah: [laughs] Yes.

Nick: Everybody is just, like, working out. And now there is a fight.

Leah: It did not get physical, but there was yelling.

Nick: There was yelling.

Leah: The music had to get stopped.

Nick: We stopped the music.

Leah: Yeah. People circled around the two women. I mean, it was the full ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: There were no blows exchanged.

Nick: Because the fight probably was broken up before it got to that point, but it was on that path?

Leah: And nobody wanted to get in between those two women.

Nick: What was this about?

Leah: So what was happening is that one of the women was holding a spot for another woman with a water bottle.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I think we can all agree that after a certain point—it was well past the point when a spot should be held. But at the same time, it's like always the same regulars. I would have—I was just letting it go. So the woman who was holding the spot was like my great grandmother's age.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Which I realize played into my thoughts about that. Whether or not that's true or not, but I just sort of have this, like, I'm gonna respect my elders. She wants to hold this spot. It's really not affecting anybody.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I'm gonna let it go.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But this other woman, who I possibly have preconceived ideas about because I heard her badmouthing somebody in another class, which I don't like that behavior. So I already was on the other woman's side.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Moved it. And then we're saying—it was like 20 minutes in, it was at least 20 minutes in.

Nick: Okay. And moved it without any sort of permission.

Leah: No, she just picked it up and moved it. She was, like, doing like a little sashay forward. She's like, "Why is this here?" Moved it up against the wall.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: The other woman comes, gets it back against the wall, puts it down back.

Nick: Oh, "I'm gonna save it again, this spot."

Leah: Yeah, she moves it right back. I see all this. I think—I start sweating a little bit because I don't know—I'm nervous for everybody.

Nick: You're like, "Oh, this is gonna get good!" Okay.

Leah: Then the other woman moves it again.

Nick: Oh, that's a nice way to escalate that. Okay.

Leah: Yeah. And then the other lady goes, picks it up, puts it back. Then now this woman who keeps moving it away goes and talks to her. She apparently raised her voice, because then the woman who was—the older woman who was holding the spot starts yelling, "Do not use that tone with me. You will not raise your voice to me." And then the whole argument became about how they were raising their voice. And the other one was like, "You can't hold this spot." And she was like, "You can talk to me about holding the spot, but you will not just move my stuff. You will not—" And then the music stops. The Zumba instructor, he comes over, he's trying to talk to them. They're just yelling over him.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: Then the man next to me wants to get involved and be like, "I don't think that you should be allowed to hold a spot." And I go, "I think they're working it out."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "I think they're working it out." I'm not taking sides. I'm not getting involved.

Nick: Let's not jump in that pile.

Leah: I said, "I think they're working it out." Then the woman who moved the stuff, the not-spot holder walks out.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Storms out as the woman who the spot was being held for walks in the door.

Nick: And she's like, "What'd I miss?"

Leah: Exactly. I mean ...

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: It was—I burned extra calories. It was breath—it was soap opera. And then the Zumba instructor just put the music back on. And then I did notice that at the end, the woman who was the spot holder went over to the Zumba instructor, apologized. Said, "I didn't mean to cause a scene. I just don't like being yelled at."

Nick: Okay. I mean, I appreciate that gesture.

Leah: So it's not really a vent because ...

Nick: Well, it's a vent in that this ruined your experience in class.

Leah: But the thing is is that it didn't because ...

Nick: It was enhancing on some level.

Leah: It was enhanced at this point because it's been so building up where people are stepping in. You know, so many people come in late, they walk to the front. This sort of like—you know, when you release all the toxins? It's sort of ...

Nick: So this was cathartic.

Leah: It was cathartic.

Nick: This was almost cathartic at the end of the day.

Leah: Oh, this is—like, this is borderline not real, it's so wild. You know? I'm just gonna sit back and not get emotionally involved in this anymore.

Nick: Okay. I mean, I guess that's a win.

Leah: But I felt like I had to share it with the group because I've been talking about people coming in late ...

Nick: Oh, I'm very interested. Yeah.

Leah: ... people stepping in front of you, people not being—now it's just a full fight. We just had a full fight!

Nick: I love it. Well, for me, I would also like to vent. And you think that you own the registered trademark on bad gym etiquette? Oh. Oh, you don't.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: I actually looked it up in the trademark system, in TES, to see whether or not you own the trademark "Bad Gym Etiquette." No. No, you don't. In fact, nobody does. It's available for registration, so get on that. And so in my building, there is a little gym, and I sometimes use it when I'm not at my regular gym. And there is one squat rack, and that's it. And for a small gym, like, that's totally fine. So I'm stretching a little bit and I'm, like, rolling out and I'm about to, like, get into my workout, and a woman walks in and, like, jumps on the squat rack and puts all her stuff down. And I make eye contact with her. And it was sort of like, oh, okay. Like, when you're done, I'll jump in kind of thing. Like, we had that little, like, eye contact-y moment. Okay, fine. So I go off to do some other part of my program and like, oh, I can get back to the squat rack needs that I have and I'll do it later. And so Leah, what is a squat rack for?

Leah: Squatting.

Nick: Uh-huh. Yes. What is a squat rack not for? Texting, stretching. It is not for anything that does not involve using the squat rack. And so for the first 10 minutes—10 minutes, because there are clocks all around and I'm like, I'm on a schedule. She is stretching, texting, checking her phone, on YouTube, in the squat rack. And it's kind of like, at what point are we going to be using the squat rack? And then she starts using the squat rack, and then takes another 10 minutes because in between every set she's texting and texting. And she's not a powerlifter where she's like, "Oh, I need 3 to 5 minutes between my sets here." Like, it was not that. And so it was just, like, endless. It was just, like, endless and it was sort of like, that is not what the squat rack is for.

Leah: How is a person so unaware that other people are using this equipment?

Nick: I mean, what a question, Leah. What a question. How are people not aware that other people exist? I mean, that is the basis of this entire show.

Leah: It's just every time.

Nick: Every time. I know. Why does it surprise me anymore? But I think this taps into that larger complaint I have, which is, like, not being ready, you know? You step up to, like, Starbucks and you're not ready to order, or you step up to TSA and your ID and your boarding pass is not out. Like, I feel like Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada. Like, why is no one ready? It's just like that is the soundtrack of my life. And so, like, why was she not ready? Why did she step into the squat rack when she was not ready? Like, don't do that. Please don't do that.

Leah: Also, get off your phone.

Nick: Also yeah, if you want to be on your phone in between sets, like, at least make it more obvious that I can, like, work in.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Because I thought it was gonna be kind of quicker than it was. Because otherwise I would have just been like, "Oh, can I work in with you?" But I was sort of like, oh, that ship has sailed. So just a reminder: squat rack, it's a shared resource and be mindful when you're using it.

Leah: [sighs]

Nick: [sighs] Exactly.

Leah: I wonder if we could have a ringtone that's just like, [sighs]?

Nick: [laughs] Of us just scoffing? Yeah, let's do it.

Leah: And then you could make your own phone ring when you're by people at the gym who are not sitting on, like, whatever.

Nick: And you're just like, "Oh, it's not me. It's my phone."

Leah: "It's my phone ringing."

Nick: "My phone knows how I feel."

Leah: [laughs] We, like, have a subcategory of this podcast that instead of, like, trying to find appropriate, polite, boundary-setting, kind ways to handle things, it's all just passive-aggressive.

Nick: Sighs and scoffs.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: That's our companion podcast, Sighs and Scoffs. That's it. Get ready. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: Sushi. I have been deeply enjoying it, but start to finish doing it in a—I'm gonna use the word—creative and comfortable way that maybe was not how it was meant to be done.

Nick: And I learned that you learned this today.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery if I could.

Leah: He would!

Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to learn about Wolves Plus.

Leah: Wolves Plus!

Nick: Which is our ad-free version that's available exclusively on Apple Podcasts.

Leah: And technically, it's spelled "Wolves Plus," but we love to throw a little French accent on there.

Nick: Oh, yeah. No, it sounds way fancier in French. So definitely check out Wolves Plus, and we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!

Leah: So we take Lacy to the dog beach all the time. She loves running along the water. She never goes in. We don't push her. It's her process. So we're out at a lake, we're all walking on the lake. We come across a family. They're playing ball with their dog who keeps running in. Lacy is enamored with this dog. The dog's named Jax, and Lacey starts following Jax out into the water. We squeal, we all squeal with glee.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: Then this couple starts throwing the ball out to Jax. Lacey starts running, getting the ball. They throw the ball to Lacy. And then we were all celebrating. It was very exciting. And then they gave us the ball to commemorate Lacy's first run into the water. And it was just the sweetest. We never learned their name. They never learned our name. We both know each other's dogs names. And it was so sweet!

Nick: Oh, that's very nice to give you sort of a token of that day.

Leah: A token of the water day.

Nick: And for me, I would like to read a nice review we just got, which is, quote, "The more I listen, the more I want to hang out with Nick and Leah. I have learned so much from this duo—and so have my kids. It's our car ride entertainment. Thanks for all the time and effort you spend putting this wonderful show together."

Leah: That is so nice!

Nick: Isn't that nice? Oh, it is so nice to hear stuff like that, because it is a lot of effort and so we appreciate that it is recognized. And so I really do love getting nice reviews and messages like that. So please keep them coming.

Leah: I mean, I know us, but I think that if people did come hang out with us, they would be like, "Oh, this—you're exactly like—" like, I would show up with something spilled on my shirt.

Nick: [laughs] I would not. Right.

Leah: You absolutely would not.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: We'd all have a great time.

Nick: Yeah. No, I think we are this. This is it. So, like, if you like this, then yeah, hanging out with us would be this. If you don't like this, well then, I don't know why you've made it to this part of the show. This is the end. So thanks for sticking around this long.

Leah: Yes, thanks for sticking around.

Nick: So thank you.