Advice From Mercer Island Mimsy

Elizabeth "Mimsy" Snugbottom dispenses etiquette advice in a manner befitting the denizens of the Mercer Island.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

My neighbor frequently walks his dog past my house, and invariably waves or even pauses to say hello if he sees me in my garage or yard. How can I point out this invasion of my privacy without appearing rude?


Dear BYOB:

While Mimsy is not an attorney, she notes that Washington State law (RCW 9A.16.110) permits one to employ “any reasonable means necessary” to protect oneself from such incursions. Still, this is about manners, not legal technicalities, and the risk of exposing oneself to the public scrutiny of criminal proceedings should be vigorously eschewed.

Preternaturally friendly people are incapable of recognizing the effect of their selfish unsolicited greeting behavior upon others, so attempting to explain this to your neighbor would only result in confusion for him and frustration for you. A better approach is to don a set of earbuds and, when you find yourself in a situation where making eye contact is absolutely unavoidable, point to your ears and silently mouth the words, “I’m on a call.”

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

I have to pay the same fare for my child’s first-class plane ticket as for mine, even though she is not allowed to be served the champagne. Is there any way to use Nextdoor to fight this injustice?

— High and Dry

Dear High:

There is a reason that commercial air travel is referred to as “Greyhound of the Skies.” Forcing well-bred individuals to associate with those who are willing to be seen in public in leisure wear invariably turns airports and airplanes into cesspools of decorum that must be avoided at all costs. In this way, they are quite similar to Nextdoor.

If you have an older child, then careful exposure to modern-day peasants of the surrounding areas is an age-appropriate way to caution them to the perils of straying far from Mercer Island. If you insist on exposing an impressionable young child to such horrors, however, the indignity of airline pricing is the least that you deserve.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

I’ve lived on Mercer Island for five years, so I’m overdue to upgrade to a better class of friends, but my association with one longtime friend is holding me back. In an attempt to sever our relationship as delicately as possible, I went to Value Village and purchased some absolutely dreadful articles of clothing. I make a point of wearing these clothes whenever I see her, thinking that she will ghost me, but she refuses to take the hint. What should I do now?

— Movin’ On Up

Dear Moo:

Your approach is admirably passive-aggressive — and kudos to you for patronizing the business of one of your Mercer Island neighbors— but your friend has a Florence Nightingale complex that blinds her to social realities. Allow Mimsy to handle this.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

My best friend on the Island has not updated her wardrobe since the last century.  She refuses to go shopping and insists that her college turtlenecks, baggy boot-cut jeans, and horribly-scuffed Danskos — all of which should have been tossed into a Wallingford dumpster ten years ago — are comfortable.  Do you think that an intervention is in order?

— Frustrated Fashionista Friend

Dear F-Bombs:

While it is possible that your friend is suffering from mental illness, Mimsy has reason to believe that she is simply trying to send you a message.

Seeking guidance on how to comport oneself appropriately on Mercer Island? Mercer Island Mimsy may be reached at