Jan. 25, 2021

Showing Up Empty-Handed, Riding French Elevators, Having Nice Weekends, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle showing up at dinner parties empty-handed, riding elevators in France, being unapologetic about having nice weekends, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: What to say in a French elevator
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: What to bring to a dinner party
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: How to respond when someone says, "must be nice"? In a walk-up building, can you buzz people in or do you have to personally greet them at the building's front door?
  • VENT OR REPENT: A not-important email, TV Spoilers
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Supporting others, Bagging groceries at the supermarket




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


Nick: Do you stay silent in a French elevator? Do you show up empty handed? Do you cry wolf? 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. What have we got?

Nick: [laughs] And so for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about taking an elevator in France.

Leah: Oof!

Nick: So to preface, I want to apologize for the terrible French pronunciation you're about to hear. French is not one of the languages that I pretend to speak, so apologies in advance. So basically, when you get on an elevator in France, you have to say "bonjour" to everyone.

Leah: Mm.

Nick: This is the rule. Got to say it to everybody. And so this is just like a basic French etiquette thing in general. Like the bonjouring of everyone, that is basic politeness in France. So when you get on an elevator in France, you have to say "bonjour" to everyone. Or if it's the evening, you have to say "bonne soirée." And if you've already seen the person in the elevator, let's say it's like a work elevator and it's a colleague you already said "bonjour" to earlier in the day, you have to say "re-bonjour," as in, "hello again." And everybody in the elevator has to say it back to you.

Nick: And then that's really the conversation. Like, we're probably not gonna do too much small talk in an elevator. Like, you're allowed to, like, have a silent rest of the trip. But you do have to have that pageantry at the beginning. And then when you leave the elevator, you have to say "bonne journée" at the end, which is like "have a good day," or like, "bonne soirée," which is like "good evening" on the way out.

Nick: And then somebody in the elevator might beat you to it with their "bonne journée," and so you have to say, like, "également," which is "oh, and you too." So all of that has to happen. It is considered very rude to stay silent in the elevator. Now you don't necessarily have to do this if it's like a shopping mall elevator or, like, an airport elevator, but definitely residential building, office building. You've got to "bonjour." Super important.

Leah: [laughs] I'm smiling ear to ear for our listeners at home, because I'm all about "bonjouring" in an elevator. I just find this to be a delight. I worry for Nick if he goes to France.

Nick: Yeah. I don't love talking in elevators, but I will ...

Leah: We're gonna have to take the stairs a lot, and ...

Nick: [laughs] Yes. It's good for the quads.

Leah: [laughs] I just imagine an elevator where it stops at every floor, and then everybody's "bonjouring" everybody, and then we stop and then it stops at another floor and then we get another—and so it's just "bonjours" all the way up.

Nick: It is. But also this whole "bonjour" thing, this takes place in a surgery room. Like, the surgeons will "bonjour" all the other people when they walk in. Or even if you're a patient at a doctor's office, when you walk into the doctor's office, you have to say "bonjour" to everybody else that's waiting as well. Like, can you imagine? Like, the American style of just slink in, not making eye contact with anybody? Like, that does not fly in France. I have not personally been to a waiting room in France, but I would avoid it now. So ...

Leah: I don't know. It seems kind of fun, we're just. "Hi! Hi! Hi!"

Nick: "Hi. Hi. Hello. Hello. Hello." Yeah.

Leah: Isn't there a song in Beauty and the Beast where she's like, "Bonjour, bonjour, to you and you and you?"

Nick: Yeah. That is an excellent French etiquette lesson.

Leah: No, it's—we learned that it's based in fact.

Nick: It is factual, yes.

Leah: Oui.

Nick: Oui. [laughs]

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: A lovely deep. A pragmatic, helpful, deep.

Nick: [laughs] So this was inspired by the question from the wilderness which was, quote, "I love hosting get-togethers, and I know people don't like to go to someone's house empty handed, but I'm always stumped when someone says, 'What can I bring?' I always insist that they don't need to bring anything, but is there a better way to respond to this question?"

Leah: I feel like we've almost had this conversation.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: But it wasn't—it wasn't this exactly.

Nick: Yes. We have tiptoed around this topic, yes, but I thought it was a good deep dive because, like, there is no one answer here, and the whole idea of, like, what to bring to someone's house, I think is, like, a big topic.

Leah: I think it's a great d-dive. I also like that it's from the host's.

Nick: Yes, it's from the host's perspective.

Leah: Like, what's a good thing to say to people, because you don't necessarily need them to bring anything, but you know they're going to. So what's a way to answer that?

Nick: So in general, Miss Manners says you don't have to bring anything to a party, you just have to reciprocate the invitation. Like, that's the most important thing: reciprocation. And she adds that this whole idea of not arriving at a dinner party empty-handed is actually some relatively new American invention. And apparently it came out of the European tradition of, like, bringing flowers or chocolate, and never wine because she says it, quote, "Carries the insulting implication that something decent to drink is needed, because the host's wine is likely to be inferior." So she says you don't actually need to bring anything.

Leah: I don't know if it carries. I love how my new thing is just disagreeing with Miss Manners, who, like, obviously knows more than me. But I don't—does it carry that implication, or are you giving it as a gift?

Nick: Yeah, I don't think it has that flavor anymore, at least. And the latest edition of Emily Post, they weigh in on the, like, what should you bring? And they actually hedge, and they say that the hostess gift is a lovely way to thank them for, like, the hospitality, and it's, quote, "Obligatory in some parts of the country, and only for special occasions elsewhere." But they don't tell you where.

Leah: That seems not helpful in any way.

Nick: Not helpful at all, Emily. No, thank you, ma'am.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So yeah. I mean, I think the question is sort of like, what do you bring and when do you bring? From the guest's perspective, I get that it's super awkward to show up somewhere empty handed because, like, as an American society, we have sort of agreed that, like, you just don't show up empty-handed. Like, that's not something you do, unless your relationship with the people is, like, super close, or you're always reciprocating. Like, oh, tonight, dinner's at my house, or next time it's at your house. Like, I think you just show up with something. Or, if it's a very formal dinner party, like a super formal dinner party, you actually might not bring anything. So I think that is maybe one category. But yeah, it is super awkward to show up empty handed.

Leah: Yeah. It's very instilled in my person that I would not show up empty handed. Deep, deep in my soul. In any part of the country.

Nick: Yeah. And I think you can't err if you do show up with something in your hands. So I think the default setting now, I think as a society this is kind of where we're at despite Miss Manners's objection. So, okay, we've accepted this is a fact of life. Fine. Now as the host, if you do not want something, either you could just say, "Oh, no. Don't bring anything. It's totally fine." And I think if your host says that, then I think you do have permission to maybe not bring anything.

Leah: I was wondering what you thought about this. We've had dinner get togethers, and then people—not potluck, but, you know, hosted larger dinner parties when people didn't have places to go for holidays and such. And then people would be like, "I want to bring a dish. Can I bring a dish?" And so we've always, like, picked a—if people want to bring stuff, bring a beverage.

Nick: Sure. That's a nice default answer, yeah. I mean, on some level, you shouldn't ask your host that: What can I bring?

Leah: Well, I think the way they ask, it didn't feel rude at all. It was that they didn't want the burden to be all on us. So they were like, "Do you need desserts? "Do you need—" you know, they wanted to know what we needed.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: And it was made clear that they wanted to bring something. So we've been like, "We'll have this and this to drink. If you want anything else for yourself, please feel free to bring it. Otherwise, we have everything covered."

Nick: I mean, I guess I feel like if I'm being invited to somebody's dinner party, you have it covered, and I'm not gonna ask what you need me to bring because you have it covered. I might still bring something, but I will bring something in a category that is not required for your evening. My contribution is not required for making the dinner party successful. So it's gonna be like a box of chocolates or a candle or something that I know you'll like as something, like, to have for later, you know? I'm not gonna try and participate in your dinner party planning. So I think that's why I would not ask, like, "Oh, what can I bring?" Because you've got it covered, I'm assuming.

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: And if you are gonna bring something, I think it's very important to not bring something that is inconvenient for your hosts. So, like, don't bring the topiary that's not in a pot. And now you have to, like, find a pot to repot this thing in their kitchen.

Leah: I brought you some goats.

Nick: Or I brought you animals. Yes!

Leah: I'm just floating it out there because I actually really love goats. So if ...

Nick: They're Angora!

Leah: [laughs] Thank you so much. My apartment's small.

Nick: Yeah. No, I think you don't want to bring something that requires them serving it, you know? Like, don't bring food that wasn't wanted. So I think anything that requires the host to, like, be inconvenienced, this is a terrible thing to bring.

Leah: But I do think, as the host, since the question is coming from the host and people are asking you, because there's different kinds of dinner parties.

Nick: Oh, sure.

Leah: Some parties are much more casual, in which case I understand why people are like, should I bring a dish, you know?

Nick: Okay. And I think you know what type of host this is and what type of party it is, probably.

Leah: Yeah. Anybody who knows me knows it's casual, so there's not—but I do think that that has worked in the past for us, if you're hosting and people want to bring stuff and it's not like a plated, sit down, everybody has a name plate. You know, it's a more casual affair.

Nick: You don't have place cards at your dinner parties, Leah Bonnema?

Leah: I don't. I don't even have a full-sized table in my apartment, so let's think about that.

Nick: Or service for more than four people.

Leah: That you could be—like, I have found that to be an easy way because people often just want to bring something. So say the beverages or, oh, I have a full meal and appetizers, I wasn't doing desserts. If you want to bring something for dessert. You know, if ...

Nick: Sure. And I think if you are gonna ask this question, oh, what can I bring? Do not ask it when you're about to get in the car to drive over, because at that point, the host really does have everything they need. If you wanted to ask this question a week in advance, then the host might say, like, "Oh, you live near this bakery. Would you pick up a loaf of bread from there?"

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Like, you know, that would be an opportunity for the host to actually ask for something that they want. But yeah, the 30 minute in advance message, like, "Oh, do you want me to stop at Safeway for something?" Like, no. No, I got it covered. Thank you.

Leah: Very good point. I think there is definitely—now that you've pointed it out, there's definitely a difference between like a dinner party and I'm hosting for a bunch of people where we needed a place to go for this thing, in which case it makes sense that people are like, "What should I bring?"

Nick: Yes. And there are different flavors of this, yes. And it's a spectrum.

Leah: I see how if I was like, "Hey, I made this plated meal and these are the apps and these are the things," and someone was like, "Maybe I should bring something," I'd be like, "Okay." I see how that would have a different flavor. [laughs]

Nick: Yeah. Yeah.

Leah: So in response to the question, like you said, I think it's fair to tell people you really don't have to bring anything.

Nick: Yeah. No, no need. Just bring yourself, yeah. And that's fine. And I think if you are told that, then you are actually off the hook. You do not actually have to bring anything. You can be empty handed. It's fine.

Leah: But you're probably still gonna bring something, because ...

Nick: Which would also be fine, as long as the thing is not like flowers that require a vase, or something you expect to be served. And a good back-pocket sentence that Miss Manners has, which I think is really useful, which I have used, which is if somebody shows up at your house and has brought something which is not part of your menu, like, oh, here's a cake! You just take it away and you say, "Oh, thank you so much. We'll think of you when we enjoy this later."

Leah: Perfect.

Nick: So you just take it away. You're not obligated to ever serve anything that somebody brings. So you're off the hook.

Leah: Well, I think a lot of times people want to bring, like, a thank you. Like, here, I baked this. It's for you for later. It's just a thank you.

Nick: I love a "for later."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: A "for later" is great, yes. Not a "Oh, I brought this thing, which I want you to now serve all of us."

Leah: Oh, yeah. Yeah. No, I can't even imagine being, like, "Put this on the table now." I think it's ...

Nick: Oh, this happens. Oh, half of our audience is like, "That's happened to me." Yeah.

Leah: Of course.

Nick: No, this happens all the time. It's rude. Don't do that.

Leah: Yeah, don't do that. But I can absolutely see, like, "I made these candies. They're for you for later, for whenever."

Nick: A baked good is a perfect host gift.

Leah: It's lovely.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: It's lovely.

Nick: Lovely. Also, do we need a better word? I don't like the phrase "hostess gift." This is not very modern. Like, what's a better word?

Leah: How about we call it a "Thanks for having me?"

Nick: It's a "Thanks for having me." Okay. Or "hospitality gift."

Leah: That sounds like—I mean, that's functional and lovely, but it also sounds like, when I think of a hospitality tent, I think of ...

Nick: Oh, that feels like some swag, or ...

Leah: Like, it's swag or it's like a ...

Nick: That feels like the bad old chocolates that you get in a hotel room when they know it's, like, your anniversary.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Well, we're gonna workshop that. Although audience, if you have ideas for what we should now call the hostess gift, let's crowdsource this.

Leah: Yeah, I love that idea. Thanks for letting me in your house.

Nick: So, yeah. If you have ideas for what we should call the hostess gift, send them our way, and then hopefully we'll come up with something new and better.

Leah: And then we're gonna—and then we'll slowly start circulating it out at all of our different dinner parties, and then we'll ...

Nick: Yes!

Leah: And then by the end of this year, we'll have changed language.

Nick: And you'll know where it all started.

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: Right here.

Leah: I love it!

Nick: Right here.

[Musical Interlude]

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, "Must be nice."

Leah: And let me just say really quick.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: That I think that our audience should—if you're standing up, sit down.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Or maybe put a scarf around your neck. That always makes me feel safer. I'll put a scarf around my neck if ...

Nick: A weighted blanket.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Uh huh.

Leah: I don't know why I immediately thought of suspenders. Just something to, like, hold on to your pants.

Nick: Okay. [laughs]

Leah: Because this one is—it sort of made my skin stand up.

Nick: So quote, "'It must be nice.' I have a coworker who often says this in response to any mildly positive news I might share with her. For example, on a Monday after returning from a long weekend, she asked how my weekend was. I shared with her that it was lovely, and my partner and I took the dog for a hike a few hours away, which was quite enjoyable. To which she replied rather shortly, 'Must be nice.' I cannot stand that phrase. It makes me feel like I should feel bad for having a nice weekend, because for some reason she couldn't go for a hike herself. For the record, I didn't actually feel bad, just annoyed at the implication. What are your thoughts?"

Leah: I'm so annoyed. I hate that phrase.

Nick: Must be nice.

Leah: It's so rude.

Nick: It's a trap.

Leah: This is another person I'd like to have their address of. You know what it is? It's also, I feel like when people present things they're going through, I appreciate that, too. I want to listen to what people are dealing with. You know, when you ask people how they are and they're going through it and they share it with you?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I have no problem with that. I'm happy to listen. I'm a person who usually tries to present a positive story on things.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I find that when I try to be positive, and then somebody comes in with like, "Oh, you're so—" you know what I mean? I'm like, "Oh, well, I could also stand here and just talk about how everything's horrible, too." But I thought we were being polite and lovely. I thought that's what we were doing.

Nick: I was just giving you the highlights. The positive highlights of the day, yeah.

Leah: But if we want to be negative Nellies, let me restart.

Nick: Right. Yeah, I mean, what I don't like about—well, there's a lot that I don't like about this. One, it's a trap, because it's also a leading question, because what they want is to have a conversation about how horrible their life is. Like, that's what they really want. And they want to bait you into that.

Leah: Mm-hmm.

Nick: They want to suck you into their vortex. And so that's why I think this is so grating, because there's no way to respond to this. Like, what are you supposed to say?

Leah: It really annoyed me when I read it, so I didn't actually write down options, I just wrote "Stop talking to her." And I circled it because ...

Nick: [laughs] Okay. We have no practical advice. we just say, "That's it."

Leah: I just—you know, and it's one thing, obviously, sometimes people are in a bad mood and they had a bad day, and they just want to sort of just be like, "Ugh." And we all understand that this person does this all the time.

Nick: Yeah, this is not a one off.

Leah: This is not a one off. This is just somebody, as you said, pulling you into their vortex.

Nick: Yeah. I think I have obviously experienced people who have vortices, and I guess for me I just take it at face value. I'm not gonna get sucked in. I'm just gonna take your comment at face value. Must be nice? Yes, thank you. It was. Okay. And we're gonna just change the subject or I'm gonna leave now.

Leah: I love that idea. Absolutely.

Nick: Yep. That was it. Thank you. So, yeah, I mean, because otherwise now we're engaging, and I'm not interested in engaging on this.

Leah: No, I definitely—obviously, I don't think you can just stop talking to this person. I do think that that was the best way to handle it, that it should be like, "Yes, it was. Thank you." And then just go about your business.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think we don't engage further down that rabbit hole, but I think we just change the subject and move on, and that's the end of that. And you should not feel guilty for having a lovely weekend.

Leah: And I also think I may curb my responses to this person in the future, because I don't want to be constantly having to deal with their poor manners. So I think if they're like, "How was your weekend?" I would say, "Fine, thanks."

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I hate the idea of having to self-censor yourself in, like, oh, I can't possibly say anything that's nice because you'll just take that the wrong way. But maybe that is actually what you have to do, yeah. Like, "How was your weekend?" "It was adequate."

Leah: Well, I think it depends on the kind of person you are. Like, if you're the kind of person who would feel better just doing what you suggested—which I think is wonderful—and saying, "Yes, it was lovely. Thank you. It was nice. Thank you." And then walks off. And then you don't hold on to being annoyed.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Or if you're the kind of person who the annoyance will outweigh, then I think you're gonna have to change your behavior because this person is not gonna stop.

Nick: No, this person's behavior is what it is, and that will be the one constant here, yeah.

Leah: I guess you could really lean into and be like, "So nice!" [laughs]

Nick: Yeah. Like, "And let me tell you. The weather? Oh! And then we had a picnic, and then there was brie, and then there was this lovely wine and it was chilled. And it was just the best day. Oh, don't you just love it?"

Leah: "And then someone just showed up in a limousine and gave everybody free money. It was so nice!"

Nick: "And then there was soft serve ice cream, and then there was puppies with outfits!"

Leah: [laughs] "And somebody said, 'I want to give you a puppy, but I'm going to do all of the maintenance and pay for their vet bills.' And you're like, 'This is so nice!'"

Nick: Must be nice!

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "I live on a third-floor walk-up apartment. Is it more polite to meet guests at the building door, or buzz them up to my apartment? Buzzing them in allows them to get in immediately when they arrive, which can be beneficial in inclement weather. Although I wonder if my coming down to greet them at the front door would be more welcoming. Thoughts?" Oh, I have thoughts.

Leah: Me, too.

Nick: So what are your thoughts?

Leah: Well, let me walk—I would love to walk you through—no pun intended, walk you up the stairs of how I got to this. It was funny to me, how I read this.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I read this. And I was like, of course it's one of our lovely letter writers that wants to go the extra mile. And then it's like, is it okay to just buzz the door? And obviously, it's okay. And why would you walk down? And as I thought that, I thought about the multiple times—I also am in a walk-up—where I've buzzed somebody in and then thought, "I don't want them to have to walk down those stairs all alone." And then I fly down to the bottom stairs and I walk them up the stairs in front of them being like, "This way." As if they couldn't find it by themselves. So this was such an emotional, fun roller-coaster for me of being like, of course, you can just buzz. And then why would that—and then remembering all the times that I've run down stairs in socks to be like, "I don't want you to feel lonely walking up the three flights of stairs." So that's why it was so funny to me. But I obviously think, of course you can just buzz.

Nick: Yes, definitely. But here's why. Here's my reasons for this. One, is your apartment begins at your apartment door. Your apartment does not begin at the front door of your building.

Leah: Mm-mm.

Nick: Which also applies to walking around your whole building in socks. Like, we don't do that, because your apartment is not part of the rest of the building.

Leah: I just get emotionally swept up that somebody feels lonely on their journey, and then it's off to the races.

Nick: But also, as someone who has visited people in their walk-ups, and I'm going up the stairs, I actually do not want you to greet me before the door and before I have buzzed. I don't even want you standing in your own doorway with the door open, because maybe I wanted to put myself together a little bit.

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: Or maybe I had something for you and I wanted to, like, fluff the flowers. Or I had something in a bag, and I don't want to see what cheap store I bought it from. So I want to put that away before I, like, hand you the thing. So I want to be able to decide when that door opens by me buzzing or knocking on your door. So I do not want you greeting me. I do not want a buddy up the stairs, definitely. I don't want you standing on your floor shouting down three stories saying, "Hi."

Leah: I was gonna say, sometimes I just say, "Up here!"

Nick: No. Hate that. Like, I know where five is. I'll figure it out. So I just want to walk up on my own, put myself together, ring your bell, then you can open it. Then we say hello. And now we have done that.

Leah: Absolutely makes sense.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But I understand why this person asked.

Nick: So is it rude to, like, meet someone at the front door? I mean, I don't think it's rude. I would rather you didn't.

Leah: I also think that sometimes it's just pragmatic. Like, our building is not labeled by floors.

Nick: I mean, is it labeled by scent?

Leah: We're apartment number one, and we're on the third floor.

Nick: Oh, that's interesting.

Leah: So I do have to tell people where we are.

Nick: Okay. No, that's fair.

Leah: Because obviously, if I was apartment number one, 99 percent of people would assume that's on the bottom floor.

Nick: Certainly closer to that, yeah.

Leah: It's bad. It's like, we're the last apartment. It's labeled backwards.

Nick: Oh, that's a twist!

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I love New York City real estate. You never know what you're gonna get.

Leah: [laughs] Never, no. And, like, I didn't do it!

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So there is that part of it where I genuinely don't want people to waste walking time down to the ...

Nick: Okay. Well, unless you live in an upside-down world, then just let them walk up on their own. So do you live in an upside-down world of etiquette? Let us know. We can help. Send us your questions at Wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW.

[Musical Interlude]

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: Well first off, I would love to give you the opportunity to go first, because I always ...

Nick: Sure.

Leah: No pressure to go first, but I just want you to feel you're welcome to go first.

Nick: Happy to get it off my chest. So I would like to vent. So I was at MoMA recently, the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And they've actually just redone how they're doing their curation and they've expanded, and they're also turning over what they're hanging, like, more frequently, so it gives you more reasons to go. So I was there with a friend on a very nice, quiet weekend in New York City. And I'm strolling the galleries, and now I'm at one of my favorite paintings, which is Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. And I'll post a link to it if you've never seen it. It is wonderful. It is basically set in Maine, actually, and it is this woman who is laying on the grass, and she's sort of twisted, looking up at a farmhouse. And MoMA actually calls it a "psychological landscape," as opposed to a real landscape because there's, like, a lot happening in this painting. And Andrew Wyeth, he is so detailed in his painting, and you really have to see it in person to appreciate it. Like, photos don't do it justice, which is why going to see real art live in real museums is so lovely.

Nick: So I am about to take a picture because I thought, oh, it's one of my favorites, let me take a picture. And I see I have an email, and this email is from somebody who I know professionally, vaguely. Like, maybe we last emailed five years ago. Maybe I'll see him out and about but, like, not somebody I work with, not somebody I know very well, like, at all. And the email's just, "Hi, Nick. Call me. It's important." And it's like, what is that about? Sunday afternoon? What is happening?

Nick: So I tell my friend I'm gonna step outside, because obviously I'm not gonna take a phone call in a gallery. We don't do that. That's rude. So I left the galleries, and now I'm standing by the elevator banks and I call him back. And I'm like, "Hey, it's Nick. What's happening?" And he's like, "Oh, I just wanted to, like, see if you'd be interested in this, like, business opportunity." And I was like, "That's not urgent or interesting or relevant."

Leah: What?

Nick: And I was like, "Oh, thank you so much for thinking of me. I don't think that's for me. Have a great rest of your weekend." Come on. Come on!

Leah: Come on!

Nick: Call me?

Leah: On a Sunday?

Nick: Call me. It's important?

Leah: It sounds like they're at a medical emergency center and you're the only email they had.

Nick: I mean, definitely something dire, you know, where only I could solve it.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I mean, when you throw out a "Call me. It's important." Like, it better be important. This was not important.

Leah: I'm a little shocked. This is just ...

Nick: Yeah, that's rude. I mean, it goes beyond rude.

Leah: Well, they set it up like it's an emergency.

Nick: Yes! This was a call that needed to take place ASAP.

Leah: And you, as a kind, considerate person, were like, "Let me step out of my weekend and call this person who I barely know anyway, in case I'm needed."

Nick: Right? The better email would have been like, "Hey, I have something I want to discuss with you at some point. When available, please give me a ring."

Leah: Yep.

Nick: That would have been fine. Happy to have seen that email and deal with it on a workday. But I mean, call me ... it's important? I mean, ugh! So don't care for that. That's my vent.

Leah: I don't care for that either.

Nick: So what do you got?

Leah: Well, I'm very upset with that person.

Nick: [laughs] Yes. Good. Me too.

Leah: It's rude!

Nick: Very rude. [laughs] And for you?

Leah: For me, I'm gonna do a vent.

Nick: Oh, okay.

Leah: And this event is about an idea.

Nick: Oh, tell me more.

Leah: I would like to discuss spoilers.

Nick: Okay. Like, I'm watching a TV show and there's a spoiler alert.

Leah: There's a spoiler alert.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I see how one can err on many sides of a spoiler. For example, if I'm watching a show, and then I'm on a social media site and somebody posted something? That's probably my own fault for being in the middle of social media on a popular show, you know? I mean, you can't, like, be like, "You spoiled that," if you're out on social media looking up this thing. You know what I mean? That's—not talking about that kind of spoiler.

Nick: Right. That's on you.

Leah: That's a gray area. You are on social media looking up the show. What did you think was gonna happen?

Nick: Oh, yeah. If you're specifically on social media looking up the show? Then yes.

Leah: Yeah. That's what you're gonna see.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Also, I've had an experience where I was at a comedy show. I was performing. I was discussing Game of Thrones.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And I was discussing something that happened in, like, season one. I just referenced it because of somebody in the audience. It was like a moment thing. We were already finished the show. The show was over at this point.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: If you're out in public and somebody referencing a show that at that point was, like, how many years old? That's also your own fault. I bring that up because I had a man come up to me and very seriously tell me that I upset his wife, and I should apologize because I brought up something in season one of Game of Thrones.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: And for a moment I felt genuinely upset at myself. And then I was like, oh, wait a second. If you are so upset that hearing something from, like, 10 years ago makes you want to—you shouldn't leave the house at all. Like, you should not leave the house.

Nick: Yeah, there is an expiration date on spoilers for television, film.

Leah: There's an expiration date.

Nick: Yeah, like Christmas Story? He gets the B.B. gun.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Spoiler. [laughs]

Leah: It's a—it's a sled, you know what I mean? It's just so—I recognize there are these areas. That being said, I was in a conversation with somebody recently. The conversation was specific to the fact that I missed large amounts of television shows, particularly sitcoms.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: You and I have discussed this. We were going back and watching through—this was with somebody else, obviously not you, because this is a rude person I'm discussing.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And I was saying how I missed a lot of sitcoms, and not only did I miss them, but I wasn't in the world of them. So I don't even know what happened. Like, I don't even get references. So I've been going back through and watching them. And I said, "I never watched The Office. I don't even know what happens. And it's so weird because it's such a global—so many people reference it. It's been so popular. I don't even know how I missed it." I then say, "I've never seen any of it. I'm just going into the second season. I'm really enjoying it. So excited. It's so interesting to not have any idea what happens."

Nick: Ah!

Leah: That's what I said. And then the person I was talking to then told me their four favorite things about the show, which were all spoilers.

Nick: Ugh.

Leah: And then I said, "I don't understand what just happened here. I just told you I've never seen it. I'm watching it for the first time, and how excited I am to—how I somehow oddly missed all the references, so I have no idea what happens. And then you just told me all of the major points of what happened."

Nick: Terrible!

Leah: And then they said, "Well, I don't get how you missed it. You must have known."

Nick: What?

Leah: And I was like, "I don't know. I just told you I missed it all!"

Nick: Yes, I just told you I don't know what happens, and I'm now enjoying it for the first time.

Leah: And you told me all the major plot points of the whole show. The whole show!

Nick: I mean—and so they made a mistake, and then they weren't sorry about it.

Leah: No, then they doubled down that it was still my fault. It was still my fault.

Nick: Mm-mm. No. I mean, I could see how you might slip, and then would be very embarrassed and apologetic that you did. But to double down?

Leah: To double down. And also you might slip if I hadn't said, if the whole conversation wasn't about how I'd missed this whole chunk of life, and I was excited to ...

Nick: Yes. If our whole conversation wasn't about the conversation that we were having a conversation about, yeah, maybe if it wasn't that? Okay.

Leah: And then so to purposely spoil something for somebody and then to be like, "That's your fault," that's rude.

Nick: Yeah, that is rude. Yeah, because spoilers are mean.

Leah: It's mean. It ruins the story.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess you're still gonna watch The Office.

Leah: No, I'm not.

Nick: Oh, that was it for you? You're like, "I'm out."

Leah: They literally gave me all of the major plot points.

Nick: Oh, okay. That's fair.

Leah: Who goes where, who gets writed off, what happens to people.

Nick: Yeah, what else is there?

Leah: What else is there?

Nick: Fair. Well, I'm sorry. Luckily, there's plenty of other television to watch. Have you ever seen Out of This World?

Leah: No.

Nick: Oh, it's about a girl who can freeze time because her father's an alien.

Leah: Are you making that up?

Nick: No, no. It's a real show from the '80s. I highly recommend it. Check it out.

Leah: Out of This World? I just love—I love the ...

Nick: And I think the alien father, who only appears in, like, this cube desk paperweight is voiced by Burt Reynolds, I think?

Leah: What? How have I missed—these are all the things that I've missed!

Nick: And to freeze time, she puts her index fingers together and touches them, and then time is still, yeah.

Leah: That's also what I—when you said "freeze time," that's how I imagined it happened. It had to do with fingers.

Nick: I thought you were gonna say, "That's how I freeze time."

Leah: [laughs] That is what I was gonna say, and then I realized I don't want everybody at home to know that I can freeze time, so I changed it. [laughs] Obviously, everybody at home, I was kidding on that. I don't actually think I can freeze time.

Nick: Or can she?

Leah: Or do I?

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I'm really excited about "bonjouring" people. I don't know if we can verb that. That sounds like a cheers-ing.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You know, we've decided we don't say we're cheers-ing.

Nick: No, no. Jaring it up.

Leah: Okay. I may start "bonjouring" people in American elevators.

Nick: Gosh, please don't.

Leah: I feel like I'd have to be wearing a hat, though. You know what I mean? Just a very French hat.

Nick: And I learned that you live in an Escher painting where up is down and down is up and nothing matters. Yes. [laughs]

Leah: I feel like the rules that people get—not rules, but the rules they break, the things people get away with in New York City apartment buildings ...

Nick: Oh, it's remarkable the way we live. We have showers in kitchens, we have doors to nowhere. Yeah, we have impossible spaces that defy time and gravity.

Leah: Yeah. They're like, "The bathroom is right in the middle of the living room," and you're like, "I'll take it. I'll take it!"

Nick: So convenient, yes! Is there a fee? Sure. Well, thank you, Leah.

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 will.

Nick: So for your homework this week, I want you to visit our website, and I want you to sign up for our newsletter. And I want you to send us a question. That's all. That's your homework: website, newsletter, question. And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

[Musical Interlude]

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'm really thankful for people who support other people.

Nick: Hmm, that's nice.

Leah: I've just seen a lot of people sharing other people's work. And recently, a friend of mine wrote a book and another friend of mine shared it. And I wouldn't have known, you know what I mean? And then I was—got excited to celebrate. And I am seeing a lot of people commenting on things that people have done. And they've just been very lovely. And I think in the middle of all this chaos and darkness, it's so wonderful to see people supporting each other. And I really think it's beautiful.

Nick: That is nice. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: And we got a lovely thing from CordialsofKindness.com, which is, quote, "I was at a budget grocery store, where you have to bag your own groceries, with my toddler. The woman in front of me, who also had a young child with her, saw that I had a ton of groceries and offered to help me bag my groceries as I was continuing to add stuff to the conveyor belt. I tried to tell her not to worry about it, but she insisted. It was so sweet to have such a nice interaction with a stranger in these unprecedented times."

Leah: That's so nice.

Nick: That is nice. You just take a moment to do something nice. How hard is that?

Leah: It's really lovely.

Nick: So thank you for sending that.