DEAR ABBY: My husband and I decided to take some classes at a local community college. We both have college degrees, but there was a class we were interested in. We are the oldest students in the class by 10 to 20 years.
I am irritated by our classmates' disrespect for the instructor. It takes the form of talking with each other when the instructor is speaking, then asking her to explain what she just discussed while they were talking. They sometimes get so loud that I can't hear what the teacher is saying.
Is there anything I can do as a fellow student to get them to stop? Because of the age difference, I'm afraid most of them would think I was being bossy.
- Anonymous in California
DEAR ANONYMOUS: The teacher you describe does not appear to be a particularly effective one or she would have better control of the classroom.
Because you can't hear the lecture, I have two suggestions: The first is to speak privately with the teacher. And if that doesn't do the trick, when the students around you become disruptive, ask them to pipe down so you can hear what the instructor is saying. You paid for the class and you should get your money's worth.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I often go out to eat at local ethnic restaurants with a group of friends. When we're at a Mexican restaurant, I often throw a couple of "arribas!" into our conversation. When we're at an Italian restaurant, I will sometimes use an Italian accent to say "pizza pie-a!" My husband tells me it's offensive.
My comments are made in the spirit of fun. Furthermore, the owners and servers at these restaurants are hardly ethnic Mexicans or Italians.
What do you think?
- Muy Caliente in Iowa
DEAR MUY CALIENTE: When you visit a Jewish deli do you tell the server, "Oy vey, I'll have the corned beef"? Your husband is right - cool it. Not because you'll offend the servers in the restaurant, but because stereotyping makes you look like a fool.