March 27, 2023

Sending Wedding Cards to Exes, Being Polite to Smart Speakers, Asking People for Favors, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle sending wedding cards to exes, being polite to Siri and Alexa, asking people for favors, and much more.

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle sending wedding cards to exes, being polite to Siri and Alexa, asking people for favors, 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: "Il Galateo" by Giovanni della Cassa
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Riding in cars
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should I send a card to my ex who is getting remarried? Should you say "please" and "thank you" to Alexa and Siri?
  • VENT OR REPENT:Asking for favors, Texting before a party
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Thanks to Canyon friends, A nice review







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 178


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Nick: Do you play the flute? Do you slam car doors? Do you text your hosts at the last minute? 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: Let's get in it!

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about "Galateo," which is a book by Giovanni Della Casa. Are you familiar with this? Have you heard of this?

Leah: I have—I am not.

Nick: Okay. So what this is is a very famous book from 1558. Italian Renaissance. This is the time of Michelangelo. And this is a book that is basically an etiquette book. And it's one of the most influential etiquette books of all time that you may not have heard of, but it really has been influential.

Leah: Wow!

Nick: And it's so influential that actually in Italian, now the word "galateo," which is actually just the name of a character in the book, now actually just means "etiquette." It's just like one of the words Italians use to describe social etiquette.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: So there's a lot of things that I love about this book. And it's a fun read, it's actually, like, very well written and it's actually very humorous, but it's basically just that people are so annoying.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And it's all these ways in which people are just the worst. And Giovanni is a cranky uncle, and this book is written to his nephew. And it's basically advice to his nephew, which is like, "Here are all the things I learned in my life. I wish I knew these when I was your age. And here's all my wisdom." And one thing I find interesting about history in general is just that history intersects everything. We often think about them as, like, discrete events or discrete categories. Like, when we think of the Italian Renaissance, we're thinking of, like, all the art, Michelangelo's David and this pursuit of, like, perfection and beauty.

Nick: But also that was happening throughout the Renaissance, including in literature. And so you could look at this book as an example of that too. Like, this is somebody who's trying to find perfection in the way we're all just, like, getting along in society.

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: And so I kind of like thinking of history in this way. It's like, oh, here's another layer of what was happening at that time.

Leah: I love that.

Nick: And another thing that I actually think is interesting is that this was written at a time in Italy when everybody else was invading. So you had just like everybody taking pieces of Italy. And this book definitely has a vibe of, like, yeah, you might be taking our land, but we're still classier, we're still more elegant, we got better etiquette. And it is true. Like, etiquette really was an Italian thing I think during this time. Like, they really were the most elegant. And we often think about the French being the source of a lot of etiquette, like, we think of Versailles. But no, the Italians. Like, they had the fork way before anybody else. It was actually Catherine de' Medici of, like, the famous Florentine Medici family, she married a French guy and she brought the fork with her to France. And then the French people got on board with the fork. So, you know, the Italians? Very influential, very influential.

Leah: And Nick's not just saying that because we're Italian.

Nick: Yes! Sono Italiano. Si, si. So there's a lot of great advice in this book, and a lot of it makes sense. And a lot of it is like, oh, is this still a problem? Like, have we not solved this in 500 years? So, like, please wash your hands. Don't sneeze on people. If you leave the bathroom, like, pull up your pants first. Like, don't adjust yourself as you're, like, walking back to the dining table. All good advice. He mentions that he doesn't want you to sniff things too closely. Like, don't sniff your food or your wine because, quote, "The reason is that from his nose could fall those things that men find disgusting, even though this is perhaps unlikely." So, like, there was some concern about boogers falling on other people's food. I guess that was a concern.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And similarly, quote, "It is not proper to clean your teeth with a napkin, nor should you pick at them with a fingernail or a twig. Nor should you do this to your ears, for these are hideous acts."

Leah: Imagine you just grab a twig.

Nick: Twig! Yeah. He also describes there were some people at this time who had a toothpick on a necklace, like, so you would always have a toothpick handy. And he's like, "Don't do that."

Leah: Was it a metal toothpick?

Nick: I don't know what the design was. I mean, maybe it was metal, maybe it was bone, but it was sort of like, oh, BYOTP. And so he says, like, don't do that because it's like, are you a glutton? Do you carry around a spoon around your neck, too? He also says don't make noise. Quote, "There is a difference between the eating of men and pigs." So I was like, okay, this is a universal advice that is still relevant. He also lists, like, other things he finds rude. One of them that caught my eye was, "Those who occasionally pull a letter out of their pocket to read." And it's like, oh, that's interesting. That's kind of like pulling your cell phone and doing that in front of other people. Like, oh, that's still rude. 500 years later, we're still doing it. Still rude. He also says, quote, "Worse yet, the one who brings out a fingernail scissor and devotes herself to clipping or filing her nails."

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: Renaissance Italy also a problem. New York City subway today, Renaissance Italy. Yeah, we have not come far enough.

Leah: Literally exactly the same problems.

Nick: It's literally—when I saw that, I was like, "How is this in this book? How is this still a—what?" Yeah, I was—that really blew me away. Then he goes on to talk about things that just annoy him, which I don't know if these are really big problems, but one is, "You must watch your singing, especially solo. If you're tone deaf and sing off key. Few can resist this. In fact, it seems the less one's natural musical talent, the more one sings."

Leah: This feels like it's like an interpersonal problem in his life.

Nick: Yeah. I feel like he had some neighbor who was a big singer and, like, oh, that's real annoying. Yeah, probably people in his life knew exactly who that was.

Leah: [laughs] Yeah.

Nick: That probably wasn't some veiled, like, vague thing. It was like, "Oh, no, that's Luigi. Luigi has been annoying him next door." Yeah. And he also says, "Don't annoy people with your dreams. No one wants to hear about your dreams." Like, when you wake up and you had a wild dream, he's like, "Don't tell people your dreams. This is annoying." And quote, "By and large, idiotic." So he's like, don't do that. He says actually, the only thing worse than telling people stories about your dreams is lying to them. Like, that's the next step. Telling about your dreams and then lying to them. Like, there's nothing in between.

Leah: Well, he's really put that up there.

Nick: Right? Because he says that, like, oh, at least with dreams, like, there's some truth to it to you, at least. Where lying, like, oh, there's no truth anywhere. So at least dreams, I guess are slightly less worse because, like, at least you believe it. Yeah. No, he's really not into, like, hearing about people's dreams. But this is what happened before you had the internet and, like, streaming services. Like, what else did you do? You just had to tell people stories about your dreams.

Leah: I mean, it's still happening because I know two comics who have a joke about how much they hate when people tell them their dreams because it's always—it makes no sense to anybody else. And you're like, "Why—why am I being told this?"

Nick: Yeah, why am I on this journey? Yeah. Another thing that caught my eye in the book was, "One should not take off his clothes—especially not his stockings—in public. That is where decent people would be found."

Leah: [laughs] That's where the decent people are?

Nick: Yeah. And immediately I thought, like, oh, that's like taking your socks off on an airplane. Yeah.

Leah: Why have we not changed?

Nick: But the last part of the book that really caught my eye is there's this whole animosity around playing the flute.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And I feel like he must have had some neighbor that sang too much, and then he must have had some neighbor that, like, was playing the flute and it just annoyed him to no end, because he talks about this Greek myth about Athena. Athena invented the flute, and she was playing the flute one day and she saw her reflection in a stream and she's like, "Oh, I look so ugly when I play the flute because, like, my face contorts." And so she, like, threw the flute away and cursed it. And so Giovanni says, quote, "In truth, she did the right thing. No one should play the flute." And he says, "Unless the individual be in such dire straits that he must play it professionally and for pay. Otherwise, no one should play the flute ever." [laughs] So don't tell Lizzo. But ...

Leah: I won't tell Jethro Tull either.

Nick: Right. Or a lot of people. Yeah. So those are just, like, some things that I thought were fun. But yeah, "Galateo?" Interesting, fun read, so you can check it out. I'll post a link to it in the show notes if you want to, like, get a copy. But yeah, I kind of recommend it.

Leah: I love it. I also love the idea that it's like the Renaissance of how we behave.

Nick: It is. Yeah, we're always trying to be reborn as better, more polite people.

Leah: And clearly it hasn't happened.

Nick: Yeah. Well, we are still relevant.

Leah: [laughs] Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.

Nick: That's Leah. Okay.

Leah: That's me playing a flute.

Nick: Luckily, we don't need to get the rights to whatever that is.

Leah: Yeah, that's why I was gonna do Jethro Tull, but then I was like, we don't have the rights, so I'm just gonna—I'm just gonna improv it. [laughs]

Nick: Okay. Goes in the edit.

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

Leah: Deep and sitting next to somebody driving.

Nick: Yes. So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about being a passenger in a car.

Leah: And we've talked about, I think, things around this idea.

Nick: Yes. I think last time we talked about driving, we were just more, like, on the road. And I think we did make a promise that at some point we would come back and we would talk about things going on inside the vehicle. And we keep our promises.

Leah: We do.

Nick: And so here we are.

Leah: That's on the top of etiquette list, I do think. Keeping promises.

Nick: Yeah. Oh, for sure. Oh, yeah. No, breaking promises? Etiquette crime.

Leah: The worst.

Nick: So in the car, the number one thing on my list is don't touch.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Don't be touching things. Don't be touching the radio. Don't be touching the temperature. Like, don't touch. I think that was kind of like my number one note.

Leah: I was thinking about this, and I think up at the top with don't be touching is don't be directing.

Nick: Okay. Like backseat driving?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Ah!

Leah: Some people just can't not be the drivers.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So when they're riding, they just are continuing their driving experience next to the driver.

Nick: Right. Okay, so don't do that.

Leah: Don't do that.

Nick: Yeah, let the driver be the captain.

Leah: Yeah. And then when it's your time to captain, you get to captain. Obviously that's different if there's like some emergency situation happening that you see that nobody else does. I'm not talking about that.

Nick: Oh, sure. Yes. Yeah, don't, like, be polite and then, like, crash into something.

Leah: Yeah, and then be like, "Oh, I didn't want to bring it up."

Nick: Because you saw it and didn't want to say anything. [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Right. Yeah, so there's a balance. There's a balance. Related to that is the idea of, like, opening up things. So it feels like the glove box is kind of like a medicine cabinet. Like, I don't think we snoop in a glove box.

Leah: Yeah, we do not. I would put that in the don't—no touching. No touching.

Nick: Yeah, that's—that's bold.

Leah: It's very bold. Also, I wouldn't put your feet up on the dash.

Nick: Well, that's unsafe because there's probably an airbag in there, but yeah I don't want your feet up there. And then I also don't want you probably eating or smoking or vaping in my car, unless that's like—that's the house rules.

Leah: I also think if a person who's driving is like, "Oh, hey. This is, like, crazy traffic area," or "When I'm getting on the freeway, I gotta focus," then, like, don't talk to them. Let them have their moment.

Nick: Yeah, let's not distract the driver. Yeah. I mean, I think anything that falls under safety, like, safety always trumps etiquette. So anything that is related to actually the safety of the passengers and the cars around you, I feel like that always comes first.

Leah: And with Nick's don't touch anything, we don't reach to the radio and crank it up or change the channel.

Nick: Well, I think the driver always gets to choose what is being played, if anything. Like, I feel like the captain of the ship gets to decide what is coming through the speakers. But a polite driver, I think, would solicit input. Like, "Hey, I was thinking of playing some yacht rock. So is that cool with everybody?"

Leah: Oh, and I think if you're the passenger, you can say, "Oh, I love this song. Can I turn it up a tidge?"

Nick: Yes. Or as a passenger, you can be like, "Oh, I really want to play some disco hits from the 70s. Is that cool?" Like, I think you could ask if nothing's being played.

Leah: I think you can ask. "Oh, I made a road trip mix for us. Can I play it? Sure!"

Nick: Love a mix tape. Yeah.

Leah: And then I think if we spill anything or drop anything, we pick it up when we get out. We're like, "Oh, I spilled this. Let me—let me fix it."

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think it's sort of like the same rules as being in someone's house. Like, if you spill something or you damage something or you make a mess, like, you have to help clean that up and, like, take responsibility.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Now related to that, if we go to a gas station, a lot of people say that the passenger should take charge of cleaning the windshields. How do we feel about this? Have you heard about this idea?

Leah: I haven't heard about this idea. I've seen this in play, but it's when both the people in the front know the car.

Nick: Ah, okay.

Leah: Like, it's like a couple or—you know what I mean?

Nick: It's a long road trip, or we've both rented this thing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I don't know if I barely know you and I'm giving you a ride somewhere and I pull over and do gas and you just start doing—but, I mean, I—I think it's polite to offer. "Hey, do you want me to get the windows?"

Nick: Yeah, I guess that's sort of what I was thinking. Maybe I guess asking is nice. I guess you never want to just start doing something to somebody's car without asking first. Maybe that's just like the general principle.

Leah: Yeah, I think what you said earlier, it's like being in someone's apartment.

Nick: I mean, if somebody wants to come over and then offers to clean my windows? I mean, have at it. Sure!

Leah: I mean, if we're talking about pulling over, also if someone's driving me somewhere and we pull over for gas, I don't know if this goes in this category, but I always offer, "Hey, do you want gas money? Can I throw you some gas money?"

Nick: Yeah, I think depending on what the nature of this ride is. Yeah. I mean, that's, I think, a nice courtesy, for sure if somebody's doing you a favor.

Leah: And then if they're like, "Oh, no," and then I'll say, "Hey, I'm gonna run into the—can I get you a beverage?"

Nick: And also when we're stopping, another thing to note is just, like, be gentle with the doors. I think car owners don't love when their doors are slammed. Certainly if they're still in the car, like, oh, that's very loud. Like, you just want to just close it and the door will latch. Like, those—those latches will work.

Leah: Treat it nicely.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I also—say I'm driving and the person next to me gets a phone call.

Nick: Mm-hmm?

Leah: I would appreciate it if before they started talking at full volume in a closed vehicle, they say, "Would you mind if I take this call?"

Nick: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think that's good.

Leah: Because I've been in a car before where someone took a call, and I mean, it was like 25 minutes of them full volume. And I was like ...

Nick: Oh!

Leah: ... wow, this is great. Glad to be a part of this. And obviously sometimes you gotta take calls, but just run it by the driver.

Nick: Related to that, if you're gonna take a call and it's on speakerphone and someone else is in the car, it is polite to announce that to the other person calling.

Leah: Oh, yes. "Hey, this is Leah. You're on speaker. I'm in the car with Nick."

Nick: Yeah, do that. Because I can't tell you how many etiquette crimes have come about when that didn't happen.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: And then you start to talk about the person in the car, and then it's sort of like, "Oh, hey, caller, it's Nick who you were just talking about. How's it going?"

Leah: Or you share something horrible.

Nick: If you want to talk about me behind my back and I overhear and it's all nice stuff, oh, I'm great with that. But that's never what this is.

Leah: No. I mean, if you share something horrible about your life that you would never have told a third person, you're only telling who you thought you were on the phone with.

Nick: Oh! Oh, I'm divulging something thinking that this is a one-on-one conversation and I happen to overhear. Oh, that's kind of fun. Sure.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] But yes, I think we want to not do speakerphone and not announce that to other people in the car.

Leah: I also think—and this is very maybe particular—if you're the rider and you get into the car, and you're sort of like on one, you know what I mean? You're on a tear and you just talk the driver's ear off from point A to point B, it's a lot.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Is this a ripped from the headlines of your life?

Leah: This is ripped from the headlines of my life.

Nick: Okay, yeah. Yeah. I mean, it is nice to not be on a tear and talk the driver's ear off for 40 minutes.

Leah: Because that person is trapped.

Nick: Yeah. Well, some people specifically use that trapped audience knowing you can't get away. Like, it is strategic.

Leah: And I'm not talking about it's like a friend who's having a bad day. I'm just talking about people that just talk nonstop and you're like, I cannot get out of here and I'm trying to drive, and it's so much.

Nick: Yeah. No, don't do that.

Leah: Sometimes silence isn't bad.

Nick: No. Yeah. No, you don't have to fill the void.

Leah: We can just sit here.

Nick: Yeah, you can just enjoy it. Solitude. It's wonderful.

Leah: Listen to some flute music.

Nick: [laughs] Yes, some soothing flute music. Well, you can't see their ugly faces contorting when it's just radio. So maybe it's fine.

Leah: I've seen a lot of people play flute, and it does not seem ugly to me at all.

Nick: It's really not a problem, Giovanni. It's fine. It's totally fine. So those are some thoughts about riding in cars. I guess at the end of the day, it's just like, treat it like someone's house, right? Is that just sort of what it is?

Leah: Yeah, I think it's treat it like someone's house.

Nick: Yeah. You're not gonna go to somebody's house and, like, change their AC settings. You're not gonna change their radio.

Leah: Start looking through drawers.

Nick: You're not gonna just, like, leave wrappers around the floor from your burger, right?

Leah: Ideally, you're not.

Nick: Right, because like a guest in my house, if you do those things, I'm not gonna invite you back. So if you want to be in my car again, yeah, let's treat it with some respect.

Leah: Imagine if somebody did do that and you just pulled out your phone and started filming, and you're like, "I'm sorry, I'm gonna have to throw this up on the 'Gram."

Nick: Well, yeah. Because now anything bad happening to me etiquette wise is now content.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So on some level, like, I'm not annoyed by bad behavior anymore because it's like, "Oh, I can use this." So I'm making lemonade out of all this. But if you don't have an etiquette podcast and cannot turn all the bad etiquette crimes happening to you into good content, then yeah, ideally everybody around you will be on their best behavior.

Leah: Or you can film it and we can go back to public shaming. I mean ...

Nick: Yeah. Film it and send it to us and then we'll use it. Sure. [laughs] So safe driving!

Leah: I do feel like from the beginning to now we've gotten so—we're just like, "Public shaming. Mwahahaha!"

Nick: Well, I mean, at the end of the day, shame is kind of a component of etiquette. Like, if we did not have society basically saying like, "Oh, don't do that. We've agreed as a society, we don't do that." Like, that's one mechanism by which etiquette works.

Leah: I know, but I feel the more and more I'm alive, the people that are the biggest etiquette crime makers have no shame.

Nick: Yes. Yes. Well, like serial killers, some etiquette criminals feel no remorse. Right. And for these people, they will continue committing crimes until they're caught.

Leah: Well, I think even when they're caught, they don't feel bad about what they did. They're like, "I just gotta not do it by that person."

Nick: Yeah. And what do we do about these people? We just have to lock them up forever.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Same solution.

Leah: This is a great parallel to draw between serial killers and serial etiquette crimers.

Nick: So those are some thoughts about driving in cars. [laughs] If you have other ideas for us, we may revisit this again. It's an important topic. We can't exhaust driving in one shot. So ...

Leah: No pun intended because cars have exhaust.

Nick: [sighs]

Leah: Aaah!

Nick: All right. So please let us know.

Leah: The wheels are turning, so if you have any more ideas ...

Nick: Yes. And then we'll all be on the road to better etiquette.

Leah: Boom! Yes!

Nick: [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, "My son's father and I divorced about 12 years ago. We didn't have a particularly bitter divorce—tension, yes, but we're over it. We communicate and work together in regard to our son. And our son is now 21. So I rarely, if ever, speak to his dad, mostly holiday and birthday wishes. My son informed me that his dad is remarrying. His dad has not shared the news with me—at least not yet. I'd like to acknowledge the wedding and marriage by giving a gift or a card when the time comes. Is this tacky? A reminder of the past? What is the ex-wife's etiquette here on her ex-husband's remarriage? I'm happy for them and wish them the best, but I also don't want to intrude."

Leah: A) I think our letter writer is so lovely and thoughtful.

Nick: Very thoughtful. Yes.

Leah: My immediate thought, which definitely does not necessarily mean that it's the correct thought, but my first thought was, I don't know if you ever see your ex-husband, maybe you're at an event like a college graduation or a work thing for your son. You could say, "Hey, so-and-so told me that you were getting married. I just wanted to say congratulations. That's great."

Nick: My sense is that we don't run into the ex at all. So if we want to express best wishes, we would have to actually do that specifically. We're not gonna, like, run into this person.

Leah: In the same vein, I don't think there's anything rude about being like, "I heard you were getting married. Wanted to say congratulations. I wish you both all the best."

Nick: Yeah. I think my first thought was that in etiquette there's often two sides. There's the how something's intended, but also how something is received. So this is intended well, and so I think the question is: how do we think this is gonna be received? And is it gonna be received in the spirit in which you want to be giving it? And what does the new wife think, I think. How is the new wife gonna interpret this? I think that was kind of a thought I had. Another thought I had was like, I think the default setting in general should just be like, we should do the nice thing.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: If we have the option to do the nice thing, like, let's start with that as the default setting, and then we can work backwards to decide, oh, is that actually the nice thing? Should we actually do that? So I guess the question is: what are reasons why we would not want to actually, like, send a note or send a gift? And so, like, why wouldn't we want to do that?

Leah: Well, I think we could ask our son, "Is it okay that I told them that you told me? Because I just wanted to wish them well."

Nick: Right. Yeah, I think that's a good place to start because it's sort of like, oh, am I allowed to have this information?

Leah: I would ask my son. And then if he was like, "Yeah. No, go ahead." I think the fear is that maybe—well, my read of this question is that the fear is that she feels like they'll think she's intruding because she said "I don't want to intrude" or that somehow meddling.

Nick: Or like when you say "Best wishes," that's actually not sincere and you don't really mean that. And this is some sort of like deliberate sort of like twist of the knife, like, oh, I still exist kind of flavor? Is that how it might be interpreted?

Leah: But I mean, you've been co-parenting, which is a pretty big ...

Nick: It feels like y'all are in a good place with everything. Yeah.

Leah: Yeah. So I think—I think what Nick said about default setting, can we do the nice thing, I think just like a nice card, after we checked with the son, "Heard you were getting married. Wanted to say congratulations. Wishing you both all the very best."

Nick: Yeah, I think that's a nice thing. If you wanted to send a gift with that, I guess that's fine.

Leah: But I don't think you have to.

Nick: I do not think you need to send a gift. And I definitely don't think anything in the note should convey wanting an invitation to the wedding. I don't think you want to convey anything like, "Oh, well, I'm glad you finally found someone who will pick up your wet towels." Like, I think we want to, like, avoid any of that. Like, but just a neutral, like, "Hey, heard the news. Congratulations. Best wishes to you both." And I think that's—I think that's nice.

Leah: I think so too.

Nick: So our next question is quote, "Should you say please and thank you to Alexa and Siri?"

Leah: I obviously do.

Nick: Do you? Okay.

Leah: I say please and thank you. And Dustin has actually said that if the machines rise up, at least our house will be good because I've been so polite this entire time. [laughs]

Nick: I mean funny you should say that, because what I specifically wrote down to talk about was during the Singularity, when the AI does the purge of all the humans that weren't on board, only those that weren't critical and that were nice will be saved. Everybody else will be purged. And so I think you'll be safe. And Alexa, Siri, we love you. Anybody listening, we love artificial intelligence. Don't come after us.

Leah: I just stayed in a hotel where Alexa did all the curtains and the lights.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And of course, I was so grateful. And I constantly told Alexa that. I feel like we became friends.

Nick: But I think the etiquette answer is that etiquette doesn't care what you do when you're alone. And despite the charm of these devices, they are not people, and so we do not need to say please or thank you to them in general. Now if you are trying to set an example for small children who are in the room then, like, okay.

Leah: But also I like to always ask for things in the same way, regardless of who or what I'm asking.

Nick: Okay, you want to be consistent.

Leah: I like to be consistent, and I like to have a nice, polite tone in my regular life.

Nick: Yes. I mean, I think you could have a polite tone with them. We don't have to have an aggressive tone.

Leah: I'm openly letting you know that I've bumped into chairs and apologized to them. "Oh, sorry. Didn't see you there."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It's just how I like to live my life.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I prefer that if there's the temptation to let rude behavior to your smart devices bleed into your behavior with, like, actual humans. So if you're worried that might happen, then yeah, I would rather you just be polite to all things.

Leah: I think let's just be polite across the board. And if you've seen The Terminator ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: [laughs] To circle back to the beginning of the conversation ...

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Just to cover all your bases.

Nick: Yeah. I guess it can't hurt, right? I guess maybe that's what it is. I guess it doesn't hurt at the end of the day to do it, so why not?

Leah: Might as well. I get we don't have to, but I mean, I think why not?

Nick: Yeah. Okay. Fair enough. So do you have questions for us about the coming AI takeover of the world or anything else? 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: [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: I'm gonna vent, Nick.

Nick: All right. What has happened?

Leah: I feel like I've been swimming in a sea of rude-idity. [laughs]

Nick: Oh, rude-idity! Ooh, I like that.

Leah: Had to add an extra syllable there, but I just—I'm gonna clump this group of things together and just make it sort of a PSA.

Nick: Okay. I think we need a collective noun for rude behavior. You know, a gaggle of geese, a pride of lions, we need a something of rudeness.

Leah: I think this is a great thing that I'd actually like to sleep on. I'd like to go through all the choices.

Nick: Yeah. Audience, if you have ideas for what the collective noun for rudeness is, send that in. I would really love to get your ideas on this. So okay, you've had some bad experiences and you want to group them. It's a bulk purchase.

Leah: Yes, this is a bulk—this is a bulk purchase.

Nick: We're buying it in bulk. Okay. What am I buying?

Leah: I would like to discuss when it's appropriate to ask people for favors.

Nick: Oh! Hmm.

Leah: I've just had a week on every single—like, I'm getting in my phone, I'm getting in my DMs, I'm getting in my emails, I'm getting my—just people asking favors. And I'm not talking about, like, "Hey, we're close friends. Can you help me out with this?" You know what I mean? I'm talking about including people I barely know.

Nick: So everybody wants a piece of Leah Bonnema this week.

Leah: And I'm not even talking about things that are like something I could do that's ease—because I'm happy to do a lot of—I really love doing things that make people happy or people need.

Nick: Yeah. No, if there's one thing you're known for it's being very generous. Yeah.

Leah: I mean, it genuinely brings me joy. I'm talking about complicated, multi-level things I have to follow up, look up for other people. And this is what's driving me crazy. There is now—because everybody knows oh, you're on your phone, people—time—I've gotten—I got one at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Nick: Okay. Wow.

Leah: Is this a crisis? You had to ask me for a favor, so when I wake up it's the first thing on my phone. I also got one at, like, 11:30 on a Sunday night. What are you doing? What's going on?

Nick: Yeah. I mean, although, would you have really enjoyed receiving these at any time of day? Like, did that matter?

Leah: It does really matter to me.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I don't want to be asked to do something in what is, I think, really people's only downtime, which is early Saturday morning and late Sunday night. You know what—I'm trying to get ready for the week, and you want to message me about—you know, I just—I really dislike it intensely.

Nick: Yes. I think the maddening thing is when people ask for things and we don't have that relationship. And it's sort of like, oh, I think you're getting over your skis with this request. It's like, that's not what this is.

Leah: Oh yeah, these are all people that I don't have this relationship with. These are all those people.

Nick: That to me I feel like is the problem. The time? I'm happy to ignore a text no matter what time it comes in. It's just the oh, we don't know each other that well. And what you're asking is like, oh, that's bold. I could totally see how that's a nonstarter.

Leah: But if you're gonna text me something bold and we don't know each other that well, I need it to be Tuesday around noon.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Not on what is really down home time.

Nick: Yeah. And what time zone? Do we have to be mindful of the time zones, I guess?

Leah: If you're gonna ask me a complicated favor and I barely know you, figure out the time zone. You know what I mean?

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Yeah. So is there a solution to this? No, there's not.

Leah: No, I just want to just put out there if you're gonna ask somebody you barely know for a favor and you're gonna text them, don't do it in the middle of the night. Don't do it in the middle of the morning and not on a weekend.

Nick: And maybe don't do it.

Leah: I mean, maybe don't do it at all.

Nick: Also that.

Leah: But I know they're gonna do it. So it's really just putting me over the edge.

Nick: Okay. Well, for me, I would also like to vent. And it's a quickie, but basically I recently hosted a cocktail party for about 70 people, and the number of people who texted within an hour of the start time saying, like, "Hey, what can I bring?" What is—what are you doing? You think an hour before an event starts, I have time to A) be checking my phone and responding to your texts? No. And the "What can I bring?" I know it's so many people's default setting, but I've decided I think this is rude. I think this question is now rude.

Nick: And so I think we don't want to ask this anymore. If you want to bring something as like a host or hostess gift, like, just bring it. Just take the initiative, figure out a tea towel, figure out a candle and just bring it. Don't ask me what I want you to bring. Because also, you don't want me giving you a specific errand either. You don't want me being like, "Oh, please run to this boulangerie to pick up a loaf of something." So, like, what is this question? Why are we asking it? Maybe we should just end it. That's a topic for another day. But I was just very annoyed by the number of people that expected my time so close to the start of an event time. And so don't do that. And, like, if you have to ask this question of your host, like, do that I guess when you're RSVPing at some period of time that is not an hour before the event starts.

Leah: So annoying!

Nick: Very annoying. Yeah.

Leah: I also feel like I want to blame cell phones. Like, I feel like it's this thing where people feel like you're available all the time. "Oh, I'm gonna do this five minutes before I get there. You must be on your phone and I have access to you right now."

Nick: Yeah, I think everybody treats everybody like we're all on walkie talkies, and that's just sort of like, "Oh, I should be able to, like, reach you immediately." Which is true. You can actually reach me immediately, but it's the expectation that I will need to now respond to you immediately that's the problem.

Leah: That is the problem.

Nick: And I think we need to figure that out as a society. So if we figure that out, Leah, Nobel Prize.

Leah: I really want to go back to landline voicemails.

Nick: I want to go back to landline tape machines.

Leah: That's what I meant. That's what I was visualizing.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: I want to press a play button. I want to rewind it. I want to take it out. I want to put a pencil in it and rewind when the little tape gets pulled out.

Nick: Because so many movies and sitcoms had a moment where you had to break into someone's house to get the tape, and now we don't have that as a device anymore. It's no longer a storytelling device. And what a loss for movies and TV.

Leah: Can I just say something? Because we do have the text something, unsend it.

Nick: Oh, that's true. That's actually just the modern equivalent.

Leah: But my new computer? I just got a new computer.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Somebody texted me something on my phone. I only saw the second text, but when I opened my computer it had both of them: the one that had been unsent and the second one. And I was like ...

Nick: Ooh, I like that.

Leah: ... whoo-hoo! Whoo!

Nick: Spicy.

Leah: Spicy! So those of you who are unsending, I don't know if it's definitely gonna work.

Nick: That's true. Be careful. Well, at the end of the day, be careful.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs]

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned about Giovanni Della Casa and his amazing etiquette book, which actually sounds very funny as well as helpful, and a precursor to all of our modern day still going on problems.

Nick: That's right. And I learned that you will apologize to furniture.

Leah: I feel like had you been asked prior, you would have guessed.

Nick: [laughs] That's true. Yeah.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: If I was asked the question, like, "Oh, does Leah apologize to inanimate objects?" I would be like, "Yeah, probably."

Leah: Because, you know, chairs were once trees which are alive. So I just ...

Nick: Oh, it's a Shel Silverstein book.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Oh, I see. Oh, okay. 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 subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram. We are doing fun stuff in both of these places, and we worry you're missing out. So don't miss out. Sign up and follow us.

Leah: Don't miss out!

Nick: Don't miss out! No need for FOMO. 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 I want to do a big shout out to all of my canyon friends. So Lacey and I walk in the canyon every morning, and I've started recognizing a lot of the people and their dogs. And it's a really lovely community. I know I've complained about that one woman in the past.

Nick: But for the most part.

Leah: But for the most part—also, I'm kind of afraid. Not afraid, but it's also possible that she listens to the podcast because she has been on her best behavior.

Nick: Good. Great! We've changed one life, so that's all we need.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Mission accomplished.

Leah: We have so many people we look forward to seeing, and it's just really nice. And I mean, what a lovely morning. You wake up, you see people you know, Lacey sees doggies she knows. It's just terrific.

Nick: Oh, that's very nice. And for me, we got a great review, which is called "Grandma Approved." And it's quote, "I listened to a lot of podcasts, but this has quickly become my favorite. I love the humor and friendship between the hosts, accompanied by great advice. I grew up in a very formal household, so I think I'm pretty well versed in all the etiquette things, but I'm still learning just like everybody else. Keep up the wonderful work. Hugs from Nana."

Leah: Nana!

Nick: Nana! So this is wonderful. We have the approval of grandmothers.

Leah: I love it so much, I feel like I'm beaming.

Nick: I know. Isn't this great? So when I saw this, this totally made my day. So thank you.

Leah: Thank you!