Distraction-free dining? Not in this airport cafeteria

Dear Annie: I’m sitting at Reagan National Airport close to dinnertime. There are limited options for seats and tables for people to eat at. You know the scene — folks standing behind diners who look to be finished.

There is a mother and two daughters who, from the look of the trash around them, finished a long time ago. They’re all playing on their phones and won’t vacate their unnecessary seats with a table.

Why are some people so rude and oblivious when the majority of people are trying to make room for others? — Burned Up at the Airport

Dear Burned Up: The mother and her two daughters sound oblivious to others around them. The saddest part of your letter is that they are not engaging with each other because they are all playing on their phones. Not only is the mother being rude to the people around her, but she is being especially rude to her daughters in setting a bad example. Eating a meal together with family, even if at an airport, should be a cellphone-free zone.

As for why people are rude, there are a million reasons. But try not to let it get to you so much. Imagine the mother as a toddler not getting her needs met and now acting out as an adult. Try to show some compassion for rude people. As the Brazilian novelist Paul Coelho observed: “How people treat others is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.”

Oftentimes, rude people know they are being rude and could be looking for a fight. Or maybe they learned the behavior from their parents and don’t know any better. So if you do confront them, be prepared for an unpleasant exchange.

The best advice I can give is to live by example. Teach your children to be polite, and, most importantly, be considerate of others.

Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “Grandma,” who was upset by her family’s eating habits. In our family, it is the grandmother who has the fussy eating habits, not by choice, but for medical reasons.

And I am also careful in my eating habits. If I were to eat even one piece of nonorganic bread, I would be ill. and yes, if I ate it for three days, I would have longterm symptoms. Your family is smart not to eat that bread, as it is full of glyphosate, which has been banned in most countries because it is poison. My solution, when I visit others, is to take my food to their homes. If it is a celebration, I bring a dish that everyone can share, if they choose.

On the other side, when my grandchildren come to visit, we take them to the store and have them choose the foods that they will eat. The parents sometimes bring some foods that they like. They have also chosen to go to a nearby restaurant. Sometimes, we have taken them to restaurants. Rather than be offended or criticize, I feel it is their choice. Enjoy their visits while you can. Life is much too short.

Annie, there is much more I could say on this issue, but I tried to keep it brief. Thank you for your columns. I look for them each day in our paper. — Eating Healthy

Dear Eating Healthy: Thank you for your interesting comments about avoiding foods that make you sick. You are not alone, and your solutions are excellent.

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“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.