Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle saving water in Japanese bathrooms, behaving properly on the ski slopes, using treadmill desks while on Zoom, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Do you waste water in the bathroom? Do you smoke on the gondola? Do you not have voicemail? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.
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When we have to live together
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Were you raised by wolves?
Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah: Oh, let's get in it! [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] So for those at home who don't know, Leah has no idea what these are, and I do take special pleasure in trying to find amuse-bouches that she has never heard of. So for today, I want to talk about Otohime. Do you know what this is?
Nick: So wonderful.
Leah: I already knew I wasn't going to know. And then I was just like, "No, I don't know."
Nick: So Otohime. So this is a thing that is found in women's restrooms throughout Japan. And so here's a little background. It is said that some Japanese women feel embarrassed making noise using the bathroom. And this embarrassment is not necessary even just for them, it's for other people in the room with them. And so because of this, what was happening is that women would flush the toilet throughout their entire time in the stall, over and
over. And this, of course, wastes a huge amount of water. I mean, gallons and gallons of water. And so in the late '70s in the city of Fukuoka, there was a drought. And they did this public education campaign, which was like maybe we shouldn't waste water, everybody. But it didn't work. And women were still just flushing over and over and over and over and wasting a huge amount of water.
Nick: And so, of course, necessity is the mother of invention. And so the Toto Corporation, which maybe you're familiar with, they're, like, the first name in Japanese toilets. And if anybody has $10,000, I would really love a Toto NX1 toilet. It's like the top of the line Toto. It's like the best Toto you can buy. I would really love one in my home. Sidebar. Anyway, the Toto Corporation, they invented this thing called Otohime, which literally translates as "sound princess." And so what this is is a little device that is in the stall, and it has a button, and you push the button and it makes flushing sounds. That's the whole thing. That's what it does.
Nick: And now they're actually motion activated, so you don't have to touch the button. You can just, like, wave your hand in front of it. And it'll just just make a whooshing, flushing sound for maybe 25 seconds, and then you can push it again and have another 25 seconds. And so this was invented, and this really solved this water wasting problem. And now they have portable ones that you can, like, keep in your purse, you know, in case you happen to be in a public restroom that doesn't have a Otohime.
Nick: And now there's actually an iPhone app too, which I just downloaded, which is kind of fun. And so if you're ever in a Japanese restroom and you see, like, this little device that looks like a building intercom with, like, a speaker and a button, this is what this is. So you can push it and you can make a flushing sound.
Leah: I wish our friends at home could see my face, because I am grinning ear to ear. This is phenomenal, and I would love this in restrooms everywhere.
Nick: So would it be weird if you had a portable one in an American restroom, and other people were not expecting electronic flushing sounds to be coming out of your stall?
Leah: I've been in restrooms where people are just constantly flushing. Like, this is—this happened. So I would assume that people would just think that I was constantly flushing. They wouldn't jump to, oh, she has one of those electronic flushers. [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] Oh, it must be a sound princess! And it should be noted that men also feel embarrassed too. They did, like, some survey and, like, a significant number of Japanese men also felt this. But this device is more commonly found in women's restrooms in Japan. So there you have it.
Leah: What a delight!
Leah: How cool is that? I also love knowing that that's the thing that you want, this toilet, because I have a running list of things that Nick has said he liked.
Leah: You know, because ...
Nick: Christmas is coming!
Leah: Yeah, one never knows when one will be in a place where something might show up.
Nick: Yeah. No, NX1 toilet, I would really enjoy that, yeah.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Deep in a snow drift.
Nick: So today, I want to talk about skiing etiquette. So do you ski?
Leah: You know, I grew up on a ski mountain. I grew up in a ski area, I was a junior ski patroller.
Leah: So I mean, I was at the mountain seven days a week.
Leah: October to April, for a large part of my life. But then when I moved away, I never went again, which is a weird ...
Nick: Ever again. When you go home, you're like, "No skiing, I'm over it."
Leah: It's just so weird to have to go back and then be like, "I'm gonna rent?" You know what I mean? It was—I'm gonna put on other people's skis? I just—it feels weird.
Nick: I see. I love skiing, although I'm very injury prone, and so I really shouldn't ski because I will dislocate my shoulder, I will break something.
Leah: Oh, no!
Nick: Like, I really will injure myself. If I go on the slopes and I come back injured, people will be like, "Well, of course, you got injured." So I don't want that conversation with people. So it's just better if I don't. But I think skiing etiquette is a very important area of etiquette that is worth exploring, because I think a lot of things do go wrong on the slopes.
Leah: I immediately had a visual of where my biggest grievance had always been.
Leah: Let's start there.
Leah: When you are getting off the lift, and you come down that—you get off the lift, and then there's always a little hill to—people who stop. You have to go to —if you have to, like, put on your gloves or maybe you're adjusting your goggles or you're looking at a map. I don't know what you're doing.
Nick: Get out of the way!
Leah: You need to get out of the way. There is another chairlift coming right behind you with a whole other group of people that have to go to that little hill. Move to the side.
Nick: It's Lucy and the chocolates on the conveyor belt. Yeah, there's just more coming.
Leah: [laughs] It's the same with walking up subway stairs and stopping to look at your phone at the top. Just step to the side!
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think in general, anywhere on the mountain, you need to be mindful of where you are in relation to other people. So I think as a general rule, just awareness, I think is very important. I mean, etiquette is always about awareness, but I think for safety and happiness on the mountain specifically it's, like, super important.
Leah: Yeah. If you stop in the middle of the trail, slide back, go to the side. Obviously if somebody's hurt and you have to stop in the middle, you take your skis off and you put an X so people can see it far away.
Nick: Hmm. The first thing on my list, before we even got to the slopes, was those people who talk about how much better the snow is somewhere else, you know?
Nick: "Oh, well, I was skiing Verbier. And so this snow is not like that." You know, those people? Where you're criticizing the current conditions based on some better place you've skied. Don't be that person. No one cares about how it was on Ajax.
Leah: I'm so glad that you brought this up. As somebody who grew up on the East Coast, always West Coast, people are like, "I'm sorry."
Nick: I'm sorry this is not Telluride.
Leah: "But you don't have powder" And you're like ...
Nick: "It's so icy!"
Leah: And you're like, "This is where I live!" So that's such a good point!
Nick: Yeah, so I think in general, just be mindful. Like, don't criticize the type of snow where you currently are, because there are locals there who like where they are. It's sort of inconsiderate. Yeah, it's like coming to New York and criticizing New Yorkers. It's like, no, but we live here. So, like, don't do that.
Leah: It's so true.
Nick: So don't talk about my icy snow conditions.
Leah: And now that you've brought this up as a larger cultural issue ...
Nick: Well, that's the show.
Leah: Yeah. Being from the—but I mean, I was already at the mountain. You were starting before, which is so astute and right on. As a person who grew up in the ski town, it's the same with people who come into the town and then they treat it like it's their weekend, do what they want and then leave. And you're like, people live here.
Nick: Yeah. It's like, just because it's your vacation doesn't mean it's everyone's vacation.
Leah: Yeah. Don't act like a wildling.
Nick: And I don't know if this is an etiquette thing, but also don't wear denim. Don't ski in denim. Like, don't do that.
Nick: I don't know if that's etiquette, but just something I want to mention.
Leah: There are some nice denim out there.
Nick: That you ski in?
Leah: No. But if I saw somebody wearing denim, I'd be like, what a statement, you know?
Nick: It's a statement. It means ...
Leah: They loved the '80s.
Nick: Yeah, and they like being wet and cold.
Leah: Maybe it's a wind pant that looks like denim.
Nick: I see. Okay.
Leah: Just to, like, throw people off.
Nick: Sure, it's the Easy Spirit of pants. It looks like a denim, but feels like a windsuit. Okay.
Leah: Easy Spirit, you're killing me!
Nick: So okay. So now we're on the slopes. Definitely when you're on the chairlift, like, get out of the way. I think and also in general, don't cut the line. I think line cutting is a thing that is particularly egregious, because there's more space between everybody, because we all have, like, skis around us. But we don't want to crowd people, but we also don't want to cut in line. I think be very mindful of, like, how the line is working.
Leah: Oh, yeah, line cutters. I mean, we've discussed. They're at the top of the list of the worst people.
Nick: They are the scourge of humanity. And one thing that came up when I was Googling, like, what do other people say? Smoking on the gondola. This is apparently a very big topic still. Like, you should not smoke in the gondola. Like, at some ski resorts, like, they have gondolas which have, like, more than just like you and another person on an open chair. And so in these gondolas—and the gondola rides on some mountains can be quite long because, you know, it's a long gondola ride. So people light up various things. And yeah, don't do that.
Leah: I always think of a gondola as a closed-in space.
Leah: And a chairlift—yeah. Oh, definitely, no.
Nick: So don't smoke.
Leah: I don't think I would smoke on a chairlift either. I mean, if you're with your group and you all smoke, I mean, I don't know. But definitely don't smoke with—if you're on the singles line and you jump in with a group of four and then you're like, "But I'm outside!" No, you're sitting with four people.
Nick: Yeah. So but smoking definitely is a topic that tends to keep coming up in a lot of the "Please don't do this when you're skiing" lists. So I mention it here in case anybody was like, "Oh, maybe I will smoke in this gondola around strangers." Okay.
Leah: [laughs] I didn't even know it was legal to smoke in any indoor environments.
Nick: Yeah. Well, here we are. And then I guess a lot of people are concerned about how you carry your skis. Like, what is the proper way to actually carry skis? And there's a lot of, like, different styles. There's the Bazooka, where you, like, have your skis over your shoulder. Or there's, like, the Tommy Gun, where you kind of like have it underneath where you're carrying it. Can you picture this? There's this position called "The Offering," where you're holding your skis in two hands like you're offering it to somebody else. There's what's called "The Texas Suitcase." Do you know about this?
Nick: So sometimes it's called an Oklahoma briefcase. I don't know what people have against Texans or Oklahomans on the slopes, but it does come up. This is where you take your straps on your poles and you strap them around your skis, and so you can actually create, like, little handles. So you can create like a briefcase handle around your skis and carry it like a briefcase.
Nick: Right? Can you picture this?
Leah: Yeah. I mean, as soon as you said Texas or Oklahoma I was like, I hope it involves snakes. [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] Snakes in Oklahoma?
Leah: Well, don't you think of, like, snake boots?
Nick: Oh, snakeskin boots. Oh totally going in a different place.
Leah: I was like, "Is this briefcase made out of snakeskin? Because I love a snakeskin."
Nick: Okay. No. No, that's not what I was thinking of. But I think the correct way, according to most people—and I would love to hear from people in our audience whether or not this is actually true—is you carry both skis over one shoulder with the bindings right behind your shoulder with the tips and front pointing down, and you kind of rest one hand on the skis to kind of keep it balanced. And you carry your poles with the other hand.
Leah: I have always seen over the shoulder. That's what I'm familiar with.
Leah: And then obviously, you have to be careful when you turn quickly who's near you.
Leah: Because it's a whole bunch of people with skis over their shoulder, and we're all moving in different directions.
Nick: Yes, let's not decapitate people.
Nick: Yes. Decapitation is rude, yes.
Leah: [laughs] Yes. That goes on the list.
Nick: It's on the list. Yeah, please don't do that. Yes, rude. And now let's talk about après-ski, because I think après is, like, a very important part of the ski experience.
Leah: Hit it.
Nick: So I guess for those who don't know, après-ski is literally, like, after skiing. And so it is the period immediately after people come down off the slopes and, like, start drinking and hanging out. And for a lot of people, like, that's the highlight of the day. Who cares about the skiing? And so I think it goes basically when you get off the slopes until dinner. I don't think it's considered, like, après-ski at 1:00 a.m. Although I feel like there might be some people who would want a different opinion on that.
Leah: I mean, I've seen that.
Nick: But for me, I think it's more like aperitivo. It happens before dinner. So that's my thought on that. And I think for après-ski, you want to basically not go home and change and get dressed up and hair and makeup and return to après-ski. Like, that's not the spirit of après-ski.
Leah: No. You're, like, skiing in.
Nick: Yeah. You show up in, like, the clothing you were wearing skiing. You do that.
Nick: You can put on a hat, you can change into, like, regular boots rather than, like, your ski bindings. But, like, other than that, like, that's the wardrobe. That should be the look. It is weird to arrive fully made up like you're going out for cocktails for après-ski.
Leah: You know, this is like you just skied in straight from the trails, you pop out of your bindings. Maybe you change your boots, but I can also just see you opening up your boots and then walking around.
Nick: Yeah. Although I think if you do do that, please don't be like the people I see on the internet dancing on tables in your ski boots. Like, don't do that, please.
Nick: I know it's tempting, but let's not do that.
Nick: And we're back. And now we're gonna take some questions from you guys in the wilderness.
Nick: So our first question is, quote, "This may be a ridiculous and irrational annoyance on my part, but I need to ask." That is a great start. Love the start of that question.
Nick: "At my job, we have regular video conferences with the team, and one of my co-workers has a treadmill desk, and is visibly walking during every single meeting. I can't put my finger on exactly why this is, but this makes me very uncomfortable. Is it rude to walk during our meetings?"
Leah: I just really enjoyed this.
Leah: Because of the opening. Like, I get being annoyed, and I get being a person on Zoom watching other people being like, "Ugh, why are they doing that?" But I also think, who cares? Let them walk on their treadmill.
Nick: So I Googled a lot of treadmill desks, and I learned that quote, "Sitting is the new smoking." So basically you gotta keep moving for your health. It's very important for your health, you got to keep moving. And I also learned that there's cycling desks. So if you don't want to walk you can cycle, and you can do your work.
Leah: I haven't seen that one yet.
Nick: Yeah, I am unfamiliar with that. But I think the question really is: do you want to be that guy? You got to decide, are you comfortable being that guy? You know Chad from Finance? He's that guy who's always on the treadmill. So I think if you're comfortable being that guy at the office, the treadmill guy, then I guess do it, you know? I guess you could do it. Like, what harm is it? But it is distracting, though. I can see how it's distracting to have someone, like, bob up and down in frame.
Leah: Yeah, that's what I meant by being like, I can see why a person would sit there, and this is what I can imagine the thought, "Look at that person doing stuff. Why do I have to sit here?" [laughs]
Nick: Okay. Oh, you're jealous. You have FOMO.
Leah: I immediately have FOMO.
Nick: You have treadmill FOMO.
Leah: I want a treadmill. But I do think if somebody's walking because I do think it probably is helpful for their mind and body, they're not a good sitter.
Nick: I mean, it feels like what we do on Zoom calls should be the same behavior as we would do if we were in an office meeting in person. Like, you don't show up to a Zoom call in your bathrobe because you wouldn't do that at the office. So, like, would you walk around the room pacing in a meeting? Probably not. You'd probably sit there.
Leah: I mean, I guess is that if this person, though, had a meeting in their office, they would stay on their treadmill.
Nick: Oh, you think? Like, "Oh, we have to have a meeting with Chad. He's gonna be on the treadmill the whole time." Oh, yeah. Probably.
Leah: Yeah, absolutely.
Nick: Yeah, he probably would. And then I was thinking, is it any different if we did a Zoom call, and I'm going for a walk around the neighborhood? Like, let's say I just want to take the Zoom call in my neighborhood, and I'm gonna go for a walk. And so the background behind me is changing. You see trees, you see, you know, dogs in the background, you see mailboxes pass. Like, is that different, or is that, like, the same thing?
Leah: I think that's the same thing, and I thought of that because I'm often on Zoom calls when people are walking.
Nick: And so they're, like, holding the phone doing a selfie, and then you just see all this change happen? That's distracting. I don't think you should do that.
Leah: It doesn't bother me. I understand why people walk. I think it makes your brain work better.
Nick: Oh. I mean is it's like they're walking around the neighborhood, or they're, like, doing circles around their apartment?
Leah: They're walking around the neighborhood.
Nick: Okay. I mean ...
Leah: I mean, it's a scientific fact that walking helps your brain.
Nick: Okay. I mean, based on a lot of the Zoom calls I'm on, I don't think it's helping. [laughs]
Leah: [laughs] Well, you don't know what they were like before.
Nick: So what are we gonna tell this person? Just get over it? Like, I know it bothers you but this is not the hill you want to die on?
Leah: I mean, it's not "get over it," because I get being annoyed at things where I'm like, "Why am I even annoyed? It doesn't affect me in any way, but I'm still gonna be annoyed." I get it. Be annoyed, have at it. But, like, I totally understand why someone's on a treadmill, and I think if they want to be on a treadmill, have at it.
Nick: Yeah, and I guess maybe if you can't beat them, join them. Get a treadmill.
Leah: I used to sit on one of those yoga balls when I had an office thing, because I couldn't sit at a regular desk. And it is the new smoking.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Our next question. Oh, this question. I was so mad when I got this.
Leah: I can't ...
Nick: Yeah. Here it is. Quote, "I'm writing this right after my lunch break, and I think I messed up and had an etiquette faux pas and I need your help. So I had my lunch out on my desk in my office, which was 15 pieces of sushi." 15. Very important. "And my boss walks by my office and he comes in, and he starts talking and he notices the sushi and he says, 'Oh, my gosh, sushi? I love sushi!' And I say, "Oh, I do too. It's my favorite." And then he says it again that he loves sushi and that it's his favorite. And then I start to say how I love it too, and how I don't get to eat it that often because my boyfriend doesn't like sushi, and so I only get to eat it for lunch at the office. But then he cuts me off and he says 'You're supposed to ask if I want any and offer me some since I've said I love sushi twice now.' And he says it in a joking way, but I was like, 'Oh, I'm sorry. Do you want some?' and then he goes on about how I didn't immediately offer, and I was like, 'Well, it is the only thing I brought for lunch.'"
Nick: "And then he's walking out of my office and he says how he was joking and he doesn't want any, and then he asks if I'm going to eat all of it. And so I say 'Yes, I will.' And then he acts so shocked and surprised. And so then I start to guiltily eat all my sushi because I was like, should I not eat all of it? Should I still go and offer it to him? I did bring a snack for later, but I know I'm going to have a late dinner in case there's traffic or if my boyfriend comes home late. So I'm wondering, did I do something wrong? Should I have offered him some sushi after the first 'I love sushi' comment? Help!"
Nick: So I get this email and I'm like, "Oh, what is happening?" But then there's a quick follow-up. Like, minutes later, she writes, "Follow-up. My boss and co-worker were just talking while I was standing there about how I don't share well. I truly didn't think I had anything worth sharing for my lunch. I'm a little confused, and now I feel even worse that I didn't offer any sushi. And trust me, I have shared food since I've been here for the past nine months if we do a potluck or if I made any goodies I would bring them in. It's just that the sushi today was the only thing besides my snack for later because I'm having a late dinner tonight. So please, if I did the wrong thing, how can I fix it?"
Leah: I guess that was a pause for Nick and I's absolute—what is the word even?
Nick: This is alarming?
Leah: Ah! Alarming!
Nick: I think this is alarming. So just top-line: you did not do anything wrong here. I do not believe there's any issue on your end here. I think you're good. I don't think we would have done anything differently. So I just want to put that to rest. You're a good person.
Leah: I actually wrote, "Time to get a new job" next to this.
Nick: Yeah. I'm very concerned about what your boss thinks is funny, because this is not funny. And so I feel like his sense of humor and mine may be different.
Leah: And we're professionals. Also the idea that our lovely letter writer is going so in-depth questioning themselves, and then explaining. Like, but I'm not gonna eat later, and I don't get to"—it doesn't matter, any of those things. The idea that a person would be like, "Hey, why aren't you sharing with me?" We're adults. It's your lunch. And then to—they're outside talking about how you don't share?
Nick: Do not love that detail.
Leah: What is this?
Nick: Do not love that detail about this story, no. Co-workers now talking about me in front of me about me not sharing my lunch? I mean, what is that?
Leah: I feel like they're—I'm trying to think of a nice word that's appropriate.
Nick: I have lots of words I can't say.
Leah: I know, I—there's so many. I'm editing my language here. But they recognize that you're a nice person who's gonna worry about this, that you did something wrong, and now they're leaning into it to make it worse.
Nick: Yeah, that actually felt deliberate. So let's pretend this is a joke and that they're teasing. They're really going too far.
Leah: I really don't like this.
Nick: Now let's also just say for the record that sushi, although it does come in pieces, is like a whole meal. Like, we don't share sushi like it's a pack of gum. It's not like, "Oh, I'm having a little piece of sushi. You want one?" Like, that's not how sushi works. And for a boss to walk in and want seven percent of your lunch. Like, that's just not a world we live in. Like, who asks for a piece of sushi?
Leah: Also, if you brought in a shareable food, it's not for them to be like, "Oh, are you not sharing your food? Are you gonna eat that all yourself?" What are we talking about here?
Nick: So I definitely would never eat sushi in this office again. Yeah. I mean, I think as a baseline, that's the first line of defense, that sushi is now off-limits in the office.
Leah: I don't know. I feel like this person doesn't get to eat sushi at home because the person they live with doesn't like it. What, now they have to sacrifice their lunch because the people they work with are piles of garbage? I think, eat sushi every day, and when they say something, be like, "Oh, I'm not sharing my lunch. That's not how lunch works. You're being inappropriate."
Nick: I mean, I actually kind of like that answer better. Yeah. Yeah, why should I suffer? Yeah. I haven't done anything wrong. And I will say anytime we have one of these sort of office issues, we do get emails from our listeners saying, like, "You should talk to HR." So I'm just gonna say HR is always an option, if you feel like this is a HR-able. So I just want to put that out there. But I think yeah, you should hold your ground, and I think you don't need to share your lunch.
Leah: My boss and co-worker were standing there talking about how I don't share well? Who are these two people?
Nick: I was thinking though, like, oh, could we purposely bring in things that cannot be shared? Like, I'm just gonna have pudding for lunch. Or I'm gonna have, like, a big turkey drumstick from a renaissance fair for lunch.
Nick: Like, something that cannot be shared. A popsicle. Like, just maybe just foods that are unshareable.
Leah: I also just want these two people to know that it's not appropriate.
Nick: Well, you should never comment on someone's food in general. And I think this sort of falls under that umbrella. You shouldn't make people feel bad for what they're eating or how they're eating it. That's just not polite.
Leah: And then you're gonna bring in other people and talk about it in front of her? I just can't even imagine what world this is. And then our letter writer feels bad.
Nick: So one idea I did have is that the boyfriend doesn't like sushi? Okay, fine. There are other things available at a Japanese restaurant in the United States that are not sushi. So I think one idea would be to see if the boyfriend would be interested in any of the other delightful things that are available at a restaurant. That could work, so that you can dine with him, have a lovely evening out, you can have sushi and he can have teriyaki chicken or, you know, breaded pork cutlets, or whatever else may be on the menu. So maybe there's a way for everybody to be happy at a Japanese restaurant.
Leah: I think that is lovely. Also, I think she should still be able to eat sushi at the office. And I was thinking about how—I think it's the her explaining herself, repeating myself again. As soon as a person is in a situation where you start explaining why you need to do this or why you're doing something when it's—you're just eating lunch?
Leah: That should be a flag in your mind. Oh, people are making me uncomfortable, and I want to be aware of that. And often I feel like we immediately go in. We're like, "Oh, am I allowed to eat the food I want to eat?" Yeah, you are. It's your lunch, and if people are sitting around talking about you, and then you have to start finding reasons why you're eating lunch, there's an issue and it's not you.
Nick: Yeah, that's true. Yeah, I think the detail of the story that makes me the most upset is this idea like, oh, I can give away my lunch because I have a small snack for later I guess I could eat.
Leah: Yeah, what's going on? Also it's your boss. If you are giving away food because somebody—you are like, "Oh, I don't think that person has a lunch," and in the kindness of your heart you wanted to share because you thought they were starving to death.
Nick: Oh, sure.
Leah: This is your boss!
Nick: This is not that, yeah.
Leah: This is not that.
Nick: [laughs] This it's not that. Yeah. So to summarize, I think you should actually eat sushi every day. Bring sushi every day to the office.
Leah: And then maybe you could do some kind of a joke. "Yeah, I'm shellfish. Ha ha ha ha!"
Nick: [laughs] Even though that was terrible, I actually respect that.
Nick: All right. Our next question is quote, "I play tennis at a local club here in Los Angeles. When a ball is hit to your side of the court and it hits near or on a line, you have to call whether it's in or out. If the ball's position is somewhat questionable—maybe it was past the line, maybe it wasn't—and you call it in, as you should if you aren't certain, frequently the player who hit it to you will call out, 'Thank you.' I'm always confounded by this. Am I being thanked for being honest? Did they think I wasn't? Is this a thanks for not being self-serving? A thanks for giving them the point if maybe they think I might not deserve it. I don't usually call out this 'Thanks,' but I have been scolded for not being polite. What exactly is going on here? Your thoughts?"
Leah: I miss playing tennis. That's neither here nor there, but it's a lovely sport.
Nick: Do you play tennis?
Leah: I did, yes. I haven't in forever.
Nick: I like tennis, but I never really think about, like, playing tennis. Like for me, it's like aquariums or Orangina. Like, I like it when I have it, but it's not really, like, something I seek out. You know what I mean?
Leah: [laughs] Aquariums or Orangina.
Leah: I do. I have an aquarium, but I love Orangina.
Nick: Right? And Orangina's wonderful but, like, can you even buy it in the supermarket? Like, can I go and get it?
Leah: I don't even know.
Nick: I don't know. But when it's on the menu and I have it I'm like, "Oh, I like Orangina." So I feel like that about tennis. Like, oh, I like tennis, but it's not something I seek out.
Leah: Oh, and fun outfits. It has fun outfits!
Nick: So I reached out to a bunch of tennis experts to see what they said. Do you have a thought before I go into, like, what some experts think about this?
Leah: My thought was that a lot of things are just sort of how it works. And when you think about it, you're like, what am I—people think I'm a liar? You're thanking me for just being—like, doing what the thing is supposed to be? I don't get it, you know? But sometimes it's just how it works.
Nick: Ah, okay. Yes.
Leah: And you're just saying "In" because—and the person's being, like, "Thanks for, like, not making me argue about it." Or, "Thanks for just giving me that," or—and then it's just like a nicety that's exchanged so we don't have to go back and look at the tapes.
Nick: And I think tennis, of all games, is particularly polite. There's a lot of politeness built into the pageantry of the game.
Leah: Oh, it's so, so polite with the little outfits and the socks. I mean ...
Nick: Right? I mean, those socks? So polite.
Nick: So I reached out to a bunch of people, and so the consensus is that you actually don't call balls in. If you say nothing, that means the ball is good and you just keep playing it. And you only yell out if it's actually out. And so the Cambridge Massachusetts Tennis Club, they weigh in on this topic, and they say, quote, "During play, please do not call balls 'good.' Silence is golden unless a ball is out. If the ball lands inside the court, play it and say nothing, especially when returning serve." So what happens if you call a ball "good" is that, you know, somebody's 80 feet away, they don't know that you said "good" necessarily. They may actually think the ball was out. And so there's confusion. So you only yell stuff about the ball if it's out. That was what I learned in my research.
Leah: So I guess our letter writer—I mean, it seems that the people that our letter writer plays with are doing the opposite.
Nick: It feels like our letter writer is calling all balls and their status, not just balls that are out.
Leah: No, it feels like our letter writer is being asked to call all balls, and she's only calling balls that are out. So she's technically following the rules.
Nick: Oh, yes. I think that is an interpretation that's available to us, yes. It is also possible that she's made a lot of questionable calls and this "thank you" is sarcastic. So I think that's a possibility.
Leah: [laughs] I didn't even—I didn't read any of that.
Leah: I just read that she was, like, running with a group of people who like to call, "Oh, I'll let you have it." And I'm not assuming that this ball was returned, I'm assuming that this ball was missed because it was, like, right on the line. And that she's running with a group of people who are like, "Let you have it!" And then everybody's like, "Thanks!" And in my mind, it was like this group of people that just do this. So I made up this whole sort of lovely LA tennis world.
Leah: From this question that I see that we're—maybe took some liberties with my reading of it.
Nick: Well, I mean, I am weighing in on a more New York style of, like, of course, this is sarcastic and sassy.
Nick: How could this be sincere thank yous? No. Impossible.
Leah: And I was like, obviously it's just a group of people who are just like, "Thanks for giving me that!" And then she's like, "Obviously, I would. Why you don't have to thank me. I'm just a great person." And you know what I mean?
Nick: I think the most charitable reading of this is that you are being thanked because you gave the other player the advantage, and so that is why you're being thanked. And so I think we can leave it there. That's a sincere thanks. And I guess if you were in a place playing tennis where there's this thank-yous happening for everything, then you should participate, especially if you're being, quote, "scolded" for not doing it. Like, don't be scolded. Follow whatever the local etiquette rules where you're playing tennis are.
Leah: And bring out some cute socks.
Nick: And have socks, yes.
Leah: This is the opportunity for cute socks. Trust us New Yorkers where we're in eight layers of snow suits. Get those socks out.
Nick: Yeah. No, our socks are all black.
Nick: So do you have questions for us about socks or anything else? Let us know. You can let us know through our website, Wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave us 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: You know, Nick?
Nick: Mm-hmm. Pretty sure I know.
Leah: I think I'm gonna vent. [laughs]
Nick: Okay, bring it.
Leah: You know, I almost feel guilty about this vent because there's so many horrible things in the world, and then here I'm gonna get irritated about this. But you know what? It irritated me.
Nick: This is a safe space. Let's hear it.
Leah: So I had an appointment recently where there was a lot of paperwork. And they specifically were like, "Hey, I'm sending you something. Print it out and fill out this paperwork."
Leah: I can't even remember the last time I was asked to print out a hard copy of something and fill it out with a writing utensil.
Leah: But I was up to the challenge. I took it very seriously. I plugged in a printer, I got paper ready. I filled out this paperwork. I took the time. I had to look up answers. I mean, it was a thing.
Leah: It was elaborate. I then get to said office, where they asked for the paperwork.
Leah: I get there early as they asked me to. I follow all of the rules, Nick. I get there. I give them my paperwork. I sit down, and then the gentleman at the reception brings me over an iPad with the exact same paperwork on it and asks me to fill it out.
Leah: He's holding my paperwork. And I was like, "Oh, that's—I filled all that out. You guys asked me to print it out and fill it out." And he's like, "Oh, yeah. Nobody ever does it. So I just need you to put it"—and then I was like, "Then why do you ask?"
Nick: And also you won't just accept the paperwork? You're gonna make me do it all over again?
Leah: Yeah! I'm gonna do it again, when I—and then I said, "Well, you have the paperwork in your hand. And I had to look up those answers. So can you at least give me the paperwork back so I don't have to start looking everything up again." And then so he just gave me the first page, which was just my name and address and information. And I was like, "That's the one thing I didn't need to look up." And then he proceeded to ignore me.
Nick: Wait. What is—wait, what is happening here? What bizarro world are we living in?
Leah: Thank you!
Nick: Wait. So you gave him a stack of paperwork, he ripped off the first page, discarded the rest of it or put it in a lockbox, and now it's inaccessible?
Leah: No, he just put it on his desk, and then he just got on a phone call.
Nick: And so—okay.
Leah: And his whole explanation is, "Oh, well, nobody ever did it." And so I was like, "No, I think it's your job then to put"—but I'm not gonna be the person who's like, "I think it's your job to put it into the computer. Or you should have sent me an electronic file."
Leah: Like everybody else in the world does, and I would have filled it out. But I'm now being punished for doing my homework? I'm a big homework doer. I don't want to be punished. I want the recognition that I did what I was told instead of being spoken to like I'm garbage.
Nick: Yeah, I dislike when you're punished for doing the right thing and following instructions. Like, that's maddening.
Nick: Like, I followed instructions, and I'm being punished for all the other people in society who ignore your instructions. Like, I'm being punished for other people's bad behavior. And, like, this is maddening.
Leah: And then they made me feel bad. He just, like, ignored me and got on the phone. And you know me, I wasn't rude.
Nick: Because it's also like oh, well you shouldn't have followed instructions. That's your fault.
Leah: That's exactly what it was. And I was like, "I had to involve a printer. Are you kidding me?"
Nick: Yeah. No, there was toner, yeah.
Leah: In 2021? I did what you told me to do.
Nick: Well, I'm sorry this happened to you.
Leah: I know it's very trivial, but I sat there and stared at the side of his face for so long.
Nick: So for me, I would also like to vent.
Leah: Oh, good.
Nick: So you know when you call someone and you listen to their whole long annoying message, and then at the end it says, like, "I'm sorry. This mailbox is full. Please try your call again later." Like, you know this experience? And you're like, that's rude. That's like me coming over to your house, and you have pizza boxes all over, like, the chairs and the sofa and everywhere and you're like, "Oh actually, there's no place for you to sit. So actually come back later. I won't tell you when I might clean up—if ever—but, like, try again later, and maybe we'll see if there's a place for you to sit and we'll talk." Like, that's what that's like, when you have a full voice mailbox. But you know what's worse than that? You know what is worse than a full voice mailbox? When you don't have any voicemail whatsoever. Who are you?
Leah: I didn't even know this was a thing.
Nick: Oh, it's a thing. And it actually happened to me twice this week.
Nick: And it's like, am I calling a landline?
Nick: Is your Panasonic dual tape answering machine broken? And you just call and it rings and it rings. And you're like, the phone world is broken. Like, why is this ringing? How long will I stay on this call letting it ring? How many minutes will I go? And so why this is particularly rude, is that I think of correspondence like a tennis match, speaking of tennis. Where I am trying to get all the balls back into your side of the court. I want all the balls over the net, all the emails returned, all the voicemail. And so I will leave you a voicemail, which allows me to have tossed the ball on your side of the net, so it's now on you to call me back. When you don't have voicemail and I cannot leave you a message, I am unable to return that ball over the net. I have to keep the ball, and I have to try you later. And that is not a great use of my time. I now have to keep you on my to-do list, and I don't care for that.
Nick: I don't care for that. I want to be able to check that off. So I don't know who you are out there that do not have voicemail, but please just get voicemail.
Leah: I assume they're in jail.
Nick: It's definitely a collect call from a local penitentiary. Absolutely. Yeah, I don't understand what is happening. Like, really. Like, who does not have voicemail?
Leah: Do you think they're on, like—in the North Pole or something? Like, what is ...
Nick: Yeah, it is very, very confusing. And I am still trying to call these people back. So here we are.
Leah: Like, you just have to, like, write a note and go and nail it to their door.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I may have to show up. Yeah. That's inconvenient.
Leah: Employ, like, a pigeon or a raven of some sort.
Nick: Yeah, or just give up. How important could it be?
Leah: Yeah, or just give up. [laughs]
Nick: It's not.
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned so much.
Leah: I learned about sound princess.
Nick: Sure. Otohime.
Leah: Princess flush.
Nick: Princess flush. Uh-huh.
Leah: I love it. I love it. I want it everywhere.
Leah: I also learned that if I didn't make it specifically clear, I have a deep jealousy of treadmill desks. And if I saw one my immediate feeling would be jealousy, and I want one. I learned that about myself.
Nick: And I learned that if I need something printed, I can come to your house. You got a printer.
Leah: No, I'm out of paper now. That was the end of my paper.
Nick: [laughs] Well, thank you Lea.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.
Leah: He would.
Nick: So for your homework this week, I want you to check out our Patreon because did you know that we have faces, and you can see our faces say words on our Patreon? We have videos. We make little videos. Lots of bonus content. So go to our website, click on membership. And if you join our Patreon, you can see all our little videos. And they're kind of adorable. So check it out. And we'll see you next time.
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: Today's episode is actually coming out on my mom's birthday.
Leah: So for my Cordials of Kindness, I just want to say how much I love my mom and I'm super thankful for her.
Nick: Oh, that's very nice. And we got a lovely note from one of our Patreon members, which was quote, "Dear Nick and Leah. When I woke up today, I realized it's the best day of the week. It's the day I get to listen to a new episode of Were You Raised by Wolves. I just sat down to my desk to start working, and I'm so excited that my first hour of work will include your lovely presence. Before I got started. I just wanted to send you a note to let you know how much I enjoy your show and look forward to every episode."
Leah: So nice.
Nick: Isn't that nice?
Leah: So nice.
Nick: So thank you.
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