Aug. 22, 2022

Going Camping, Being Uninvited to Weddings, Giving Gift Cards, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle going camping, being uninvited to weddings, giving gift cards, and much more.

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle going camping, being uninvited to weddings, giving gift cards, 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



  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: V/r in emails
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should I still go to the rehearsal dinner after being uninvited to a wedding? Should you write the dollar amount on a gift card? Should drivers announce to passengers that there's going to be an unscheduled stop?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Blocking cars, Billy Joel
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Nice neighbors, Garbage-free trails







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 152


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Nick: Do you uninvite your wedding guests? Do you make your passengers wonder where they're going? Do you leave more than just footprints when camping? 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 I'm Leah Bonnema.

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

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about emails that end with V/r. That's V as in Victor, R as in Romeo. Have you ever seen this?

Leah: I have not seen this.

Nick: So this would be like I send you an email, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. V/r Nick." So I was wondering if maybe you've come across this because you have performed for our troops in Iraq, in Greenland. And so I thought maybe you saw an email that, like, might have had this, but I guess not.

Leah: I have not.

Nick: Okay. So it is a military thing and oh, PS, were you aware that Leah has performed in Iraq for our troops?

Leah: I was very honored.

Nick: I mean, it's unbelievable! Like, you're happy to go to Iraq and have no problems with that. But if we take a walking tour and they're like, "Oh, just pay whatever you want," you are, like, in a panic. So like, you're very complex.

Leah: That is absolutely correct. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. You're like, "Oh, war zone? No problem! Walking tour tipping? Ahh!" Okay.

Leah: Well, I think the war zone was that I feel like I'm doing—you know, it's all under the—you feel like you're going for a good reason.

Nick: Yes. And you are. Right, of course.

Leah: And walking tour is just sort of you're just out there having social anxiety.

Nick: Fair enough. So this falls into category ...

Leah: [laughs] That is so true about me.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Leah: Pay what you wish? I'm going home. I can't—tell me what to pay!

Nick: Yeah. Fetal position right there in the middle of the street in historic Charleston. Right. So this falls under the category of things that exist in the world that I want you to know about. And you may not come across this very often or ever, but if you do, I want you to be prepared. And so V/r basically just means "very respectfully." And there's a wide variety of capitalizations and styling that happen, but what's common would be capital V slash lowercase r, and you would do that for people of a similar rank or higher rank. If you are writing somebody below you in rank, you might just do /r. It would be very rude to do /r to somebody above you in rank.

Nick: Now some people do all capitals, some people don't have a slash. And the reason for a lot of this variety is that apparently there's actually no standard for this in the military. There is actually this great handbook called the Tongue and Quill that the Air Force puts out that a lot of the other branches follow that actually is, like, the standards for communication via email, among other things. But V/r is not in this handbook, and so I guess there is no, like, standardized way this happens.

Leah: I love this.

Nick: Right! Isn't it fun?

Leah: It's very fun.

Nick: And so a question is: should civilians use it when they're writing to somebody in the military?

Leah: That's what I was just about to ask you.

Nick: So I think probably not. I think not. I think it would be in the same category of if you were gonna go out to dinner with a friend who was in the military, would you be like, "Oh, I'll see you at 22:30?" Like, if that would be what you would say to this person and that was your relationship, then I guess sending them an email with this would also be fine. But I think if your relationship isn't like, oh, I also use military jargon as a civilian with you, then I don't think I would probably use it.

Leah: Okay, very good to know.

Nick: And also, I think if you're in the military and you're writing to a civilian, I think you probably also wouldn't use it because most civilians are not gonna be aware of this abbreviation.

Leah: I think I would think it was like video ...

Nick: Virtual reality?

Leah: [laughs] I know, exactly! I would be like, this must be a technical term.

Nick: Right. Yeah. So I guess I think it's just a military-to-military thing. And actually, a lot of people in the military, I think also don't use this either. I mean, I think a lot of people just spell it out because I think spelling it out is probably slightly more respectful than, like, an abbreviation that says respectful, right?

Leah: I know. But it's very cool, though. V/r.

Nick: Yeah. So I just want you to be aware it exists. You may see it. I don't think you should necessarily use it, but knowing is half the battle.

Leah: I love it. I actually want to say it out loud to people. You know, "V slash r!"

Nick: Well, I think it would be Victor slash Romeo.

Leah: Oh, I mean, you always second level it.

Nick: I mean, that's the level I want to live on.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And there actually is one military email thing that I actually do wish would catch on, which is BLUF. Do you know about this?

Leah: No!

Nick: B-L-U-F. "Bottom Line Up Front." It's basically BLUF, colon, and then what this email is about before you actually, like, have the rest of the email. So it'd be like, "Leah, BLUF: bring hummus on Friday." And then it would be, "Dear Leah, hope you're having a great week. Can't wait to see you at the barbecue. Would you mind bringing hummus?" Yeah. Just bottom line up front.

Leah: That is so cool!

Nick: Wouldn't it be great if we lived in this world in which all emails just had a BLUF statement right at the top?

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: "Don't make me read the whole thing. Just what do you want from me?

Leah: I love that!

Nick: So I feel like I would want that to catch on. So feel free to start writing emails with BLUF.

Leah: I feel like your emails are already pretty similar. When I get your emails, you are boom!

Nick: I mean, I do bring a certain military precision to everything I do. That's true. Yeah. Not gonna apologize.

Leah: No, I love it!

Nick: No, it's very efficient. And efficiency is polite.

Leah: And then I feel like you get to the gossip down at the bottom, which is always enjoyable.

Nick: Sometimes I do, like, a nice little postscript with, like, a little something, a little saucy. Sure.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs]

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

Leah: Deep and out into the woods.

Nick: So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about a weekend camping with friends. Now we have addressed adjacent topics like hiking or weekends away or being in nature, but I think it's a good idea to sort of revisit and expand upon this topic.

Leah: Yes. As, like, a group outing overnight.

Nick: Right.

Leah: In our glorious nature.

Nick: Right. Now Leah, do you like camping? Is that a thing that you like?

Leah: I do like camping.

Nick: Okay. I figured, like, if you're from, like, the rural woods of Maine, growing up is basically camping.

Leah: [laughs] You mean like, how we live all the time is just ...?

Nick: Yeah, that was—it was like Frontier House. Yeah. So, like, what is the difference between that and camping?

Leah: Electricity.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Running water. I would actually put up top.

Nick: Oh, I see. Okay, that's fair. I mean, I have camped. Like, I hiked the Inca Trail, and that involved camping. But I think now camping for me is basically any hotel that doesn't offer room service.

Leah: Okay. [laughs]

Nick: I feel like that's camping at this point. So that's kind of where I'm at. But I think it is lovely to be in nature, and it's a wonderful thing. And I think there is a way to do it in a polite way. So let's talk about it.

Leah: You know the term "glamping?"

Nick: Mmm, yes?

Leah: Glamor camping.

Nick: Etiquette rules I think are the same for glamping or camping.

Leah: No, I'm just saying that you can go camping in, like, a nicer way now if you don't want to do tent on the ground.

Nick: Oh, yeah. No, it's totally possible. Or I can stay at the Gritti Palace in Venice and have espresso brought to me in the morning. So, like, that's also possible. So these are choices in the world and I am gonna make one of them. [laughs]

Leah: Okay.

Nick: However, for anybody else who would like to go camping, I think the main rule is just be aware of other people. Like, that nice foundational etiquette principle. And that goes for people in your group, and it also goes for people who are maybe camping near you.

Leah: Yeah. Or—I mean, sound travels in the wilderness, so they might not even be in visual distance, but they probably can hear you.

Nick: Yes. And a lot of campgrounds have, like, quiet hours.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And so I think we definitely want to respect that. And there's also often times when generators can be used. So, like, if you're actually camping with, like, a generator or your RV or something, definitely just respect the sound pollution for sure.

Leah: And if you're camping, like, off a hiking trail, so it's not a campground, just I think everywhere, just a reminder, it's always carry in-carry out. We're not leaving anything.

Nick: Yes. And I think some people feel like, oh, I'm alone, and so etiquette rules don't apply. And in general, that is true. Like, etiquette doesn't care if you're alone. But when you're camping, you actually are not alone because you're still on the planet Earth, and other people also exist on planet Earth with you. And so on that level, like, you're not alone. And how you leave a campsite actually does affect other people.

Leah: And it affects the trees and the animals.

Nick: I mean ...

Leah: And the soil.

Nick: Let's just start with, like, how it affects people and, like, if we can just achieve that, then we've really done something. And then we can get to everything else.

Leah: Well, I feel like in nature, it affects the nature the most. That's our "other people" because we're in their territory.

Nick: I see. Okay. I mean ...

Leah: It's like the end similar to the rings. I mean, it's a whole thing. They talk to each other. It has been documented.

Nick: Yeah. No, I've read The Giving Tree. I'm familiar.

Leah: Man, The Giving Tree's just gonna keep showing up.

Nick: It's gonna pop up. Anyway ...

Leah: Point being: carry in, carry out.

Nick: Yes. I mean, that cliche of, like, "Take only photos, leave only footprints." It's a good rule to live by.

Leah: Like, you want to double dip when you're out alone camping? Have at it. But if you want to leave a plastic bag? No!

Nick: Yeah, please don't. And speaking of sort of pollution, light pollution is also sort of an issue at campsites. Apparently, it's a thing where people pull in and have, like, the brightest LED, like, Klieg lights over their entire campsite and have it going all night. And it is just so bright that it's, like, affecting everybody else's, like, experience.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: Right? I mean, it wouldn't occur to me.

Leah: It wouldn't occur to me either.

Nick: Because, like, oh, wouldn't it be nice to see the stars? But yeah, don't do that, I guess is really just the response. Like, please just be mindful that, like, light pollution is also a form of pollution.

Leah: Yeah, that never would have occurred to me. Very interesting. I had on my list, sometimes when you go away for the weekend camping or hiking/camping with friends, everybody's in charge of a different meal.

Nick: That's true.

Leah: And so I think do your fair share, like, if everybody is bringing a meal. And I always want to add the caveat: if you're in, like, a bad place financially and you're like, "I can't bring blankety-blank-blank," I think that we just tell our friends in advance. You know what I mean? Because I'm a comic, you know what I mean? There's been times where you're like, I can't leave the house for three weeks. You know what I mean? But you can't agree to do something where people are expecting you to pull up your end.

Nick: Oh, is that a thing that's happening? That oh, we're now three days into a hike and it's your turn to cook dinner and you're like, "Oh, guys, I didn't bring anything?"

Leah: No. I have been in situations where people are like, "Oh, it's my turn, and I brought instant oatmeal for everybody for this meal."

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And you're like, "Well, was that your contribution to the group?"

Nick: Yeah, I feel like we want to have enough pre-planning that everybody is in agreement and sort of on the same page. I don't think anybody wants any surprises about food on a hiking or camping trip.

Leah: I just think make sure we've discussed in advance, and we're carrying our—what we've agreed to put in we are putting in.

Nick: And then another thing on my list is: don't assume everybody wants to make friends. I think there is sort of a natural inclination to want to meet other campers and hikers and people in adjacent sort of areas because we're all kind of sharing this experience together. But it is not necessarily a guarantee that everybody is friendly or social or, like, wants to talk to you. So I think just, like, obviously say hello and make eye contact and nod and do all that, but if somebody is like clearly, like, not wanting to engage further then, like, that should be that.

Leah: Yeah, it's like a very read-the-room situation, because I think a lot of that culture is chatting to the people that you pass.

Nick: Yes. And 99 percent is gonna be that. But, like, that one percent? They exist.

Leah: Oh, of course they do.

Nick: We want to just be mindful of their feelings.

Leah: I get that.

Nick: And relatedly, like, if there's different campsites, I don't think we want to, like, take shortcuts through people's campsites to get somewhere.

Leah: No.

Nick: So I think you want to kind of treat people's campsites like their property. Like, you wouldn't cut through someone's lawn. So, like, you want to just kind of walk around people's campsites.

Leah: And I think that if we're bringing our dogs, or I don't know what other animals people travel with—there's a man here who walks his cat on a leash, so I assume he would bring her camping.

Nick: Oh, there's somebody who walks their parrot on 23rd Street.

Leah: Oh, fantastic!

Nick: [laughs] So, you know, takes all kinds.

Leah: Say they were bringing their parrot with them camping. I think that we—just like we wouldn't walk through our neighbor's campsite, we would try to keep our best animal friends from not barging onto other people's locations.

Nick: Yeah, I think you want to be responsible for your pet. Absolutely. And then lastly on my list is just about safety, which would be like, extinguish your campfire appropriately. Like, let's not cause a forest fire.

Leah: Yeah, let's really be—let's definitely not do that. I would say that's a step past rude. [laughs]

Nick: I feel like causing a forest fire is rude. Yeah, I feel very comfortable in saying that.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: That's rude.

Leah: Let's not.

Nick: Yeah, please don't. Yeah, we'd rather you didn't. And then this is sort of adjacent, and maybe we're just gonna let this hang, but I have a question which is: are s'mores good?

Leah: Are you serious?

Nick: Are they good? Are they good?

Leah: Yes! Nick!

Nick: I just want to just, like, pose the question.

Leah: What?

Nick: I don't know if I'm prepared to answer the question, but I just want to just put it out there. Are they good?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I mean, have you ever had a s'more in your house? Would you make s'mores tonight for dessert? No, you would not.

Leah: I have had a s'more in my house, to be totally honest.

Nick: Okay! [laughs] Ah, foiled!

Leah: I love s'mores!

Nick: But they feel so contextual.

Leah: They are contextual.

Nick: Are they inherently good? Are they inherently good in a vacuum? If you just had a s'more on a plate in your home, would that be an enjoyable thing?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I don't know. I don't know.

Leah: It's the way that marshmallow melts and that makes the chocolate gooey.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: What? Ah!

Nick: I feel like, you know, you never quite get the chocolate melted enough, and then it's very hard to get the right level of caramelization on that marshmallow. And I don't know.

Leah: If it wasn't good, they wouldn't make cookies with a s'more flavor.

Nick: Are there s'more cookies?

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Like, what is that?

Leah: That's a s'more cookie.

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: There's ice cream with s'mores in it.

Nick: I'm sorry. I don't know why I asked.

Leah: I mean ...

Nick: Oh, I've seen, like, a Ben and Jerry's flavor. Okay. Well, we're going off the rails. I'm just saying, like, I'm not sure if s'mores are good, and I feel like I need to explore it more. I'm not prepared to say that they're bad, but I don't know if they're good.

Leah: I don't know if you're allowed to weigh in as you opened the conversation by saying camping is anything where they don't have room service. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] That's also fair. That's fair. Yeah. I mean, I tap out of this. Yeah, I'm—I am ineligible. I have to recuse myself from the entire topic. Okay.

Leah: Did I tell you this? Tell me if I told you this. I may have—I actually think I did a video of it on Patreon.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I took my boyfriend camping, like proper camping out there. And he had never been out in Maine, the Maine woods. And we were out there. And midnight, these animals started howling, and it wasn't like "We're meeting up" howling, it was like something was wrong howling.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And then church bells started ringing at midnight!

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: And I'd been there the night before. There was no church bells.

Nick: What Stephen King novel was this again?

Leah: Exactly. And so it wasn't like they rung every night. And then I—my boyfriend was completely asleep. He was so out. And I was like, is this some kind of, like, emergency call that they have in this county that I don't know about? You know, my imagination went wild.

Nick: Oh, absolutely.

Leah: So then I just walked the perimeter. Side note—not an etiquette thing—always bring a headlamp. Always bring a headlamp when you're camping because, like, you might have to run outside, use the bathroom in the middle of the night. You need your hands free. So I had my little headlamp on. I'm just walking the perimeter of the tent for, like, hours. [laughs]

Nick: Okay, you're keeping guard. You're on watch.

Leah: I was keeping guard. I was on watch. I was like, "What is this church?" That's exactly what I thought: I am in a Stephen King novel.

Nick: Yeah. Oh, that's—oh, I don't care for that at all. Oh, that's terrible.

Leah: So wild! And I love that I was like, "I guess I'm just gonna have to make a perimeter and walk it with my headlamp."

Nick: Yeah. I mean, this is basically the same as a hotel that doesn't have room service.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So I feel like we have very similar experiences sometimes.

Leah: The same.

Nick: The same. Yeah, the same.

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—whoa, whoa.

Leah: Whoa! Right up top!

Nick: So oh, okay. Ooh, I got a little—little tingle. Quote, "My boyfriend of nearly three years—a widower of seven years—just told me that I have been uninvited to his daughter's wedding. He, along with the bride and groom, are mortified. But his mother-in-law, the mother of his late wife, has said I am not welcome on her property where the wedding and reception are taking place. I have never met her, but she says my attendance would be, quote, 'inappropriate and disrespectful of her late daughter and I would make her just too uncomfortable, and that if I were a good person, I'd understand.'

Nick: "Well, I guess I'm not a good person. What do you think about this situation? Is the mother-in-law correct that my attendance would be inappropriate? I can't help but think my boyfriend shouldn't have stood for this. But really, what could he do? Am I being unfair by being upset—mostly at him? Also, should I travel the 800 miles or so just to go to the rehearsal dinner, which will be a lovely bash? The host of the rehearsal dinner are the groom's amazing parents, and they have assured me that I'm still invited despite the mother-in-law's wishes because it is not on her property.

Nick: "I really don't feel like I should attend, but my boyfriend would really like me to because he wants to introduce me to his far-flung family who rarely get together. The bride has also said she wants me there, but understands if I don't want to. In case you're wondering, the couple at issue are just absolutely lovely, and have made other ridiculous and hurtful adjustments to their wedding plans to accommodate the mother-in-law in order to keep the peace. I feel like just the latest casualty of her imperiousness."

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Leah: I think that I would—A) it's very upsetting. I understand why you're very upset. I understand why you wish that your boyfriend would ...

Nick: Have your back.

Nick: And I do think he has your back. He's just sort of out of—you know, I think at the very core of this is that this woman is grieving. She hasn't processed. Obviously, it's the loss of her child.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: It's a—she feels tender, and she's making it about these other things because this marks—like, it's an occasion of which I'm sure she visualized her daughter being there. So I feel like I would keep that at the front of my mind.

Nick: Hmm. That's very—I think that is very fair. Yes.

Leah: So I think, yes, it can be hurtful. And yes, I understand why you're upset. And then I would try to just put it in that place where this person is grieving. And then I personally—if you could completely let it go, I would then go to the rehearsal dinner. But I think that I just wouldn't go to any of it, and I'd be like, "I want you guys to have a great time. This has become complicated. It would feel awkward going to some things and not other things. I'm gonna stay here." And then I would just let it go.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think what complicates it a little bit is that the boyfriend wants her to meet the other people in the family. They don't get together that often. This is a great occasion to meet a lot of people at once.

Leah: Well, I think our boyfriend should understand that we've been uninvited and it's sort of hurt our feelings. And I can't be both supportive of being uninvited, and also—I can't be two things.

Nick: Yeah. yeah. I mean, I think it can't be both things. Yeah, I think you're right. And I think it's fair to skip this trip, and then just see these people at some other occasion. I guess that would be the way to handle it. One idea I had—which I don't know if it's a good idea—is everybody seems to be talking through somebody else. And on some level, I kind of want to just call the mother-in-law directly and be like, "Hey, we've never met. I understand you have some concerns about me being at this weekend. And I wanted just to talk about these concerns and see if there's anything I can do about your concerns and address them." And, like, have a one-to-one phone call. I don't know if that would do anything. I mean, it feels like this relationship between these two people is so toxic, like, it can't make things worse. But maybe it could.

Leah: Or you could also write her a letter with the same intent. Introduce and be like, "Hey, we haven't spoken. This is who I am."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "I understand why this—" or you could say, "I can't understand what it would be like to lose my daughter. I imagine—you know, I'm so sorry for your grief. I would love to be there for this wedding of these people who are in my life. I was hoping we could have a conversation."

Nick: Oh, I like that. So an email sort of acknowledging this, and understanding where she might be coming from, and inviting her to further the conversation by phone.

Leah: And then if she doesn't, then we just sort of—I would wipe my hands of it.

Nick: Then that's that.

Leah: But I don't think that I could go and then be like, I can't play both sides.

Nick: Yeah, but I think that's actually very nice to send that email, extend an olive branch, see if she wants to accept it, and then that gives you the high road either way.

Leah: I've been uninvited to a wedding.

Nick: Really?

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: What happened?

Leah: Um ...

Nick: 10 words or less.

Leah: I was uninvited to a wedding. And then the person realized that what they thought was absolutely incorrect.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And then I got re-invited.

Nick: Oh! And then did you go, or you were like, "No, I think we're good."

Leah: I did not go. I was very polite about it. "Oh, thanks! Oh, no. Da da da da da."

Nick: "Oh, unfortunately, I can't make it."

Leah: But then I was like—I mean ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I mean, I'm gonna go after you've uninvited me and then apologized?"

Nick: Absolutely not.

Leah: No.

Nick: Actually, come to think of it, I have been uninvited to a wedding for reasons that actually were also not true. And it was like, "Oh, that's interesting, but okay. I guess I don't have to buy you a gift now."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And I've definitely been not invited to weddings that I should have been invited to, but that's a different category. [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is quote, "When you give a gift card that does not have an amount preprinted on it, do you write the amount you've spent on the card so the recipient knows? I feel like this would help the recipient in their plans to spend it, but it seems rather gauche to me. Perhaps we let them look it up online themselves before they shop or dine? Are there other factors in play, like their age or their technical abilities?"

Leah: This was such a great question because I have wondered the same thing myself many times.

Nick: Okay. I mean, I have thoughts. I don't know if they're correct, but I mean, let's talk about how we might arrive at a correct answer.

Leah: Let's do that.

Nick: I think that you are already creating work for the person by giving them a gift card. You are making them now go out and get their own gift. So then I think the question is: can we minimize how much more work you are now putting on the person? So can we just, like, not make them now have to figure out how much this gift is?

Leah: Well, it is this very interesting line where you want to tell them so they don't have to do that, but then you're like, is it gauche to just write on it "50 bucks?"

Nick: So I think we would. I think we would put the dollar amount on the card somewhere if it's not preprinted. I think that's fine. I think we don't want to reference the dollar amount in the note or the card that goes with it. But I think on the physical card, I think I would want that just to know, like, what am I dealing with.

Leah: Well, often gift cards come in, like, a little cardboard frame, and I think we could just write it on that.

Nick: Yeah. If there's not a spot for the amount already, then yeah, I think I would. Because I don't want to leave that as a mystery. And I mean, is it gauche? I mean, anytime you give anybody cold, hard cash, you know, it can have that flavor. And a gift card is basically that, but so be it.

Leah: But it could also just be like, "Yay, money!"

Nick: Yeah. No, I mean, "gauche" doesn't mean "bad." [laughs] If you want to just give me cold, hard cash, who cares if it's gauche? I'll still cash it.

Leah: You don't even have to cash it. It's ready to go. You could just spend it.

Nick: Yeah. Who needs to actually cash it? Yeah, it's cash.

Leah: But I do think it makes it easier for people if it's written on it.

Nick: Yes. And I think it's fine. I mean, it's kind of like, there is that fiction of, like, oh, it's a gift that isn't actually just currency in the form of a store credit. But, you know, let's just dispel that fiction.

Leah: It just makes it—because I've gotten them both ways, and every time I do get it without having that, I have to look it up.

Nick: Yeah. And the lookup is actually not that easy.

Leah: It's not that easy.

Nick: A lot of these gift cards are actually run by third-party companies, and you have to go to a weird website, and then you have to type in a 90-digit number, and then you have to scratch off the thing with a quarter to get the code. And now I have this, like, weird dust in my apartment and I gotta get the vacuum out. So it's like a whole thing.

Leah: And we know how you feel about dust.

Nick: Well, at least it's not glitter.

Leah: Oh, it's borderline glitter because it's silvery.

Nick: Yeah. No, it's totally glitter-adjacent, which means it's something I don't like-adjacent.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] And so yeah, just have it. And every good home should have a fine point sharpie in it. And so I would recommend that for this.

Leah: Which reminds me of our Emily Post quote about corn.

Nick: Oh, of course!

Leah: "In the smartest of houses."

Nick: Oh, yes. The smartest of houses will have a Sharpie fine point pen. Absolutely!

Leah: [laughs] I think our idea of smartest of houses and Emily's are slightly divergent.

Nick: Who could say?

Leah: Oh, I can say. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So I think that's—I think that settles that.

Leah: I feel very comfortable with that. Now I feel actually much more relieved because I'm not gonna have to worry about this in the future.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's the definitive answer. We'll just decide. So our next question is quote, "My good friend and I have been debating this for four years, so I hope you can help us settle this matter once and for all. If you are driving a friend somewhere and you need to stop for gas, should you announce to the other passengers in the car that you need to make a stop? My friend says this does not require an announcement, as this is a task necessary for driving. And when a driver pulls into a gas station, it should be clear to the other passengers why this is happening. I think it's courteous to inform the other passengers in the vehicle that an unplanned stop is added to the agenda. Which of us is correct?"

Leah: I have definitive feelings about this.

Nick: Okay, I do too. And I hope we have the same feelings.

Leah: Oh, it's gonna be interesting if we don't.

Nick: I mean, we must have the same. I will be very disappointed if we have divergent opinions on this. [laughs]

Leah: Should we say it at the same time?

Nick: So is it courteous, yes or no? One, two, three!

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Yes! Okay! Of course!

Leah: Whoo! Definitely.

Nick: So I think that—oh, I mean, like, why is this an argument?

Leah: I think there's two reasons.

Nick: Would it kill you to just be like, "Oh, we're gonna get some gas?"

Leah: It's not hard to do it. Second reason is we don't want our friends to feel like we're all of a sudden being hijacked.

Nick: That's, I think, for me actually the number one reason, which is like what is happening?

Leah: Where are we going?

Nick: Yeah. I don't want "What is happening" feeling in a vehicle.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And I think that's fair. I think that's reasonable. I don't think that's wrong.

Leah: I don't think it's wrong at all. We don't want to surprise, quite possibly make people anxious for no reason. Also, just for—like, if we're driving, we're sort of the host of the vehicle. So I always like to be like, "Hey, I'm gonna need to stop for gas in probably 10 to 15 minutes. Does anybody need a restroom break or to grab snacks?" Because then it will inform me which gas station I'm gonna go to.

Nick: That's a good point. You want to let your passengers psychologically prepare themselves for this.

Leah: And then you get more information. Is this gonna be a stop-stop, or can I stop at, like, a gas station that has no little store in it, no bathroom. I'm just hopping out and hopping in. Or are we gonna have, like, a five to ten minute break?

Nick: Yeah, I think that's fair. And I think what maybe sort of bothers me a little bit about this is that they're confusing the idea of what's required with what's courtesy. Because in etiquette, very little is required. You are not required to put the bread dish on the left. You are not required to say thank you if somebody holds a door open for you. Like, nothing about etiquette is actually required. You're not gonna die. You're not gonna go to jail. Like, it's not mandatory, but it's courtesy. So, you know, yes, are you required to inform your passengers that something is happening? No. But that's not an etiquette question.

Leah: Right.

Nick: The etiquette question is: should you? Yes, I think you should.

Leah: I one hundred percent agree.

Nick: Oh, we find it, Leah. We find it.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So do you have questions for us? Let us know! You can let us know through our website,, or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (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: 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: Whoo! I'm gonna vent.

Nick: Okay. What's happened?

Leah: I love how I act like I wasn't sure. I've been holding this. I have been holding this.

Nick: Let it out!

Leah: So I'm driving out of my parking lot, and our building has a gate.

Nick: Oh, we're familiar here on the podcast.

Leah: So I'm exiting. And then it's sort of a hard—turning out of my building is pretty hard because they have cars parked and you can't see. It's already a complicated situation. So there are people walking down the street. I decide to be polite and not—I could have made it. I could have driven fast and gotten it, but I was like, "That's rude. I'm gonna let these people go."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I see them see me. I put on my brakes. They then—it's a family of four, two teenage boys and mother and father. The whole group slows down and they all start looking at their phones.

Nick: As they're passing in front of your vehicle.

Leah: And then they sort of slow down. So the mother and father are going first—both on their phones, full on their phones. And I'm clearly annoyed because I honestly can't believe it. Like, I've stopped, and then now you're actually gonna take out your phones and walk slower. I'm clearly trying to leave. Then the sons see me be irritated because I couldn't hold back.

Nick: And what did being irritated look like in the driver's seat of this vehicle?

Leah: I think what my irritation looks for me is that my eyes roll so far back in the back of my head.

Nick: I see.

Leah: Like, I was trying to keep my mouth shut. But I was—I sort of just did like a shoulder, like, what's happening right now?

Nick: Okay.

Leah: You know, because it was unbelievable. It wasn't like they were slow walkers, it was like they intentionally decided this would be a great time while somebody who let them go first waited to now look up things on the internet.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Just so disrespectful!

Nick: Okay. So the sons now see you rolling your eyes.

Leah: Yes. And so then they just do a dead stop right in front of my car.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Just walk so slow, and then kind of just mingle, just to be ...

Nick: Wow!

Leah: And I am just reminding myself, "I'm letting it go. I'm letting it go."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "I'm letting it go." You know? But I have places to be.

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: Of course, the dog's in the back. We know I'm not going to yell in front of it. Also, there was no winning, you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. No, there's nothing you could do in this situation.

Leah: They're teenage boys. They felt like they had to, like, make a point that I should sit there forever.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: For them to be on TikTok.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: But I just—I'm getting—I actually am physically heated right now.

Nick: Yeah. If you could see Leah right now, it's getting a little warm over there.

Leah: These four people, I can imagine they live their whole life like this. Everything is about them. Everybody has to wait. They're rude. I'm still so angry about it!

Nick: It's maddening. It's maddening.

Leah: It's so maddening. Like, it'd be one thing if they didn't notice they were doing it and they were just like people on their phones, but they all got on their phones after they saw me stop. And then the sons slowed it up on purpose just to be extra annoying.

Nick: Yeah. No, no, you are totally well within your rights to be annoyed. So I'm sorry this happened to you.

Leah: I hope I see them again.

Nick: I hope you don't. [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So for me, I would also like to vent. So I was actually recently visiting home in California, and I was on the Airporter from the airport, which is what I take to get back to Marin County. And so I'm sort of in the back of the Airporter, and we've just, like, pulled over the Golden Gate Bridge and we're entering Sausalito. And over the speakers in the bus was Billy Joel's "Piano Man." And great song, but for me, it's a little triggering because long story short, back when I was doing, like, live television in the Hamptons, Billy Joel lives in the Hamptons. He's in Sag Harbor. And I guess I said something about him on air at some point. Who knows? I've said a lot of stuff about a lot of people on air.

Nick: But I'm walking down a street in Sag Harbor, and I'm going by his house. And he's home, and he's on the second floor of his house. Out the window, he looks at me, and I have never been glared at harder than by Billy Joel from that window as I'm walking by. It was—I mean, I could still feel the daggers on my neck. I mean, he—I don't even know what I said, but it was something, and I've never been glared at harder. So anytime I hear any Billy Joel song, I'm like, "Oh, right. There was that time in Sag Harbor when I got stared at."

Nick: Anyway, so I'm on the bus and there's "Piano Man" happening and okay, fine. I can live with this. And we pull into the stop in Sausalito where some people are gonna get off, and the bus driver comes back and yells at us so hard, "Who is playing music? Why is this on? This is a shared space. Turn that off right now!" And none of us can get a word in edgewise because he's just, like, going off. And eventually somebody is like, "Uh, sir, it's playing from the speakers." And then he's like, "Oh, that's my phone." And that was it. It was the driver. He plugged in his phone into the bus and it's playing "Piano Man." But he yelled at us so hard and it was just like, Don't yell at us.

Leah: And then he didn't apologize?

Nick: Oh, definitely no apology. No, definitely no apology. And I mean, don't yell in general, but if you are gonna yell, at least make sure you're correct. Right? I mean ...

Leah: Be correct.

Nick: As we know, you can't be rude and wrong at the same time. That's like not a combination that works. So that happened. It's a mild vent, but it happened. And so I thought I would share.

Leah: I feel like that's our second vent of the Airporter.

Nick: Yes. A lot of things go down on buses. What can I say?

Leah: It would almost be funny if we just put you on the Airporter for, like, two days and just you going back and forth.

Nick: Oh, that sounds real fun. Oh, yeah. Let me—let me ride an Airporter for two days. Okay.

Leah: Just to see the amount of things that you would get.

Nick: Oh, that sounds great. Yeah. Where do I sign up for that? Sure.

Leah: I think the rest of us wouldn't enjoy it, hearing about it.

Nick: Oh, I'm sure everybody else would enjoy it, yes. But I'm the one who has to ride the bus.

Leah: I know, but wouldn't it give you great pleasure to know how much pleasure you're bringing to the rest of us?

Nick: No.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] It would not.

Leah: I can't believe he yelled. Who's yelling anymore?

Nick: He yelled.

Leah: And then wasn't like, "I am mortified. That was my own phone. I shouldn't have yelled in the beginning. I apologize. I haven't had enough coffee. This is a stressful job. Huge apologies."

Nick: Any of that would have been fine. But no, you don't always get that.

Leah: Ugh! Can't always get what you want. I was thinking I would quote the piano man, but I went right into Rolling Stones.

Nick: Happens to the best of us.

Leah: I love that we got a twofer in that because we also got the Billy Joel story. Whoo!

Nick: Yeah, I don't drop celebrity names often, but when I do, they're usually mad at me.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned the V/r, which is so cool. I didn't even know it existed. And I love it. And the Bottom Line Up Front, which I actually am gonna try to work into vocal conversations. Like, not even on emails, I'm just gonna say to people, "BLUF."

Nick: "Bring hummus."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] And I learned that we unequivocally agree that you should announce all road stops.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: So 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, many people ask, "Nick and Leah, we love your show. You make this all by yourselves. How do you do that? I would love to support you, but how?" Well, you can support us on Patreon, or you can join us on Wolves+ if you use Apple to listen to our show. So either join us on Patreon or on Wolves+, and that helps us make our show.

Leah: We would love it!

Nick: We would. 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: I feel like I've touched on this before, but I just have to bring it up again, because really, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for the neighbor community that we have sort of created here. We have new neighbors with animals. We're all now, like, helping each other out with animals and mail. And like you go out that side and you see people. People say good morning. I mean, I am so delighted by our neighbors.

Nick: Yeah, you're not in New York City anymore.

Leah: It's just I get sheer joy from it and I'm genuinely grateful.

Nick: That's very nice. And for me, I mentioned I was just in Marin County visiting home, and I went on a 15-mile hike circumambulating Mount Tam, which is actually something I think I mentioned in a previous episode. And so it's a beautiful hike. And actually I stay on East Coast time when I go home, and so we started the hike at, like, 5:30 in the morning because, like, that's easy when you're on East Coast time.

Nick: And we actually got to go through Muir Woods where it was empty, not one soul in Muir Woods. And if you've ever been in Muir Woods, it's the busiest place on the planet when it's open. And so beautiful hike around the mountain and beautiful trails. And these are popular trails. And on the trail, not one inch had one piece of garbage. Not one. Not one wrapper, not one bottle, not one anything. Like, it was amazing. It was like everybody had taken all of their garbage with them. And to that I say how wonderful. Thank you for being so conscientious about keeping the trails clean.

Leah: I love that so much. A) it's so cool that you did that. It sounds amazing and beautiful. And B) that's so great.

Nick: Yeah, it's a twofer. So thank you to all the conscientious hikers out there. I really appreciate it.

Leah: So wonderful!