Dear Uptight Seattleite,Where's the best place to sell my old books?Economizin' Jill
Dear Jill,I assume you want cash for your books. I myself trade exclusively for store credit. The other reason I may not be able to help you is that my reading tastes are not very typical. Yes, I even read poetry, which is practically a crime these days. And I color way outside the lines by reading both "serious" fiction and—don't be shocked—graphic novels. As for you, Jill, you might want to try Half Price Books. Sure, their prices are the worst in town, but they offer the mainstream book-selling experience that you'll probably be more comfortable with.Dear Uptight,I had knee surgery and must wear a brace for a few weeks. On my bus commute I sit in an aisle seat so I can extend my leg. Often the window seat next to me remains empty for the whole commute, even when the bus gets full. People get on the bus, look at the seat longingly, but then just stand there in the aisle. No one has ever asked me if they could sit in the seat next to mine, even though I try to look friendly. I don't want to be confused with a seat-hogger. How do I subtly yet clearly communicate to my mass-transit compadres that by all means, yes, they can sit there?Not a Knee Jerk
Dear Not a Jerk,Spam, spam, spam, spam! I like to throw down a few of my favorite Monty Python lines whenever there's a lull in the conversation at a party or something. Isn't it great how that's always automatically funny? It just can't miss. That's why I'd like to hereby knight you as a knight who says ni. Now when people standing in the aisle pelt you with disapproving glances, you can break into a bit of that famous routine while indicating your ni (sorry!). If you feel uncomfortable delivering a monologue to a bus full of strangers, pretend you're talking on the phone. Just be sure to look around in a friendly manner so everyone knows they're included in the conversation. People may yet be hesitant to climb over the lap of someone with a knee brace. It doesn't matter, though. Your outreach effort completed, you can settle contentedly into your Economist and listen to the soothing pitter-patter of those glances that now fall harmlessly on the sturdy shelter of your immunity.Apart from the awkward bus rides, I hope you're not suffering too much from your surgery, and that your doctor isn't too chintzy with the meds. When I had my own little procedure a couple years ago, they sent me home with a tiny vial of about 12 Vicodin (of course they gave me a giant bucket of stool softeners). Is it wrong for a person who's endured surgery to want an extra pill or two left over to give their Friday-evening vodka & tonic a little extra relaxation power? Count me a knight who says nay.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I am a runner who is in decent shape, but not an Olympic athlete. Why do men living in "enlightened" Seattle continually call out unsolicited, unwanted, and unappreciated motivational things to me as I run? I usually either smile in disbelief or blow snot out of one nostril. What's the best way to respond to this archaic male practice?Running Girl
Dear Running,You go, girl! Is that what they're calling out to you? Though I've found that expression to have a sassy little ring when delivered to the mirror, it's obviously not appropriate for a heterosexual man to call it out to a woman with whom he's not acquainted. Also not OK: Push it good! Pop that corn! Shoot that salad! and Smells like spin cycle!But maybe there are some expressions that you might find acceptable? I'm asking because I hope to write a manual on this subject someday, and would appreciate your feedback on a list of acceptable expressions I've been compiling. Here's what I've got so far: L'chaim! Cheers! Ni hao! Courage! Viva la vida! Forward! Indeed! Namaste! Charge! LOL! Pringles! Tally ho! and You just gave me a great idea!Maybe a book isn't the best format for my project. Maybe it would be more useful to print this list on cards that women could hand out to men who encourage inappropriately. Do you think there might be a market for that?On third thought, can your snot-blowing response to those yahoos really be improved on? No, it clearly can't. And somehow you knew that all along. You don't need to go anywhere, girl. You're already there.Wanna be BUFFs? Find the Uptight on Facebook! Or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.