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Ask Anyone

a little tsa

A lot of people will be traveling by plane this holiday season, and we’re all going to have to make a choice: body scan or pat down. I want to know what all of you experts would choose, and why.

Christmas Traveler

The Practical Cogitator says: Having just returned from travel during the Thanksgiving craze, I can tell you that the security in Buffalo and Knoxville Airports haven’t seemed to have changed one little bit. We were neither scanned nor patted. I suppose I did see many more agents making sure we were in the right line, moving along at an appropriate speed and reminding us to remove shoes, watches, jackets, sweaters, scarves, etc.. I suggest you spend less time worrying about the security scare and more time remembering to pack your tooth brush. Remember, no liquids over 3.4 ounces, and everything has to be in a clear plastic bag. If you follow the security guidelines you shouldn’t have too much trouble. At least not in these smaller airports. The thing I don’t understand is that the agents who are so helpful reminding us to disrobe and spread out in several grey security bins are the same folks who are hurrying us to redress, tie our shows and re-pack our bags at lightning speed, which is not so easy when one is trying to keep an eye on your children and your valuables.

The Gay Perspective: I’m with Hillary. If I don’t need to undure a patdown, I avoid it—unless, of course, the inspector is really cute. In general, however, my rule of thumb is to head for the line that seems to be moving fastest, especially during the holidays.


Do you give a Christmas or New Year’s gift or tip to your garbage collectors? How about your mail delivery person? If so, what or how much?

Tip of the Iceberg

The Gay Perspective: When I lived in a small town and knew the names of these service providers, I gave them tips or gifts. I notice, these days, that I seldom have the same service provider twice in a row, making gift giving peculiar. In general, I suggest that you give tips and gifts to people whose names you know.

The Sales Guy says: I generally leave a nice bottle of wine for my mail carrier. She works hard and has been delivering mail on my street forever. Garbage men? Really? They have better health care than I do and leave a mess.

office party

I run a small office where each year there a Secret Santa gift exchange which almost always lowers productivity and uncovers minor feuds and personality conflicts among my colleagues. I have to deal with all these issues, because I’m the boss, and I’m the one they gripe to. So-and-so wants to draw another name from the hat because he can’t stand the person whose name he picked the first time. That guy in sales complains about whatever he gets. The receptionist is cheap. Whatever. I’d like to ban the ritual outright, but I don’t want to come off as a little dictator, so I merely suggested just before Thanksgiving that we ought to consider skipping it this year. They reacted like I’m some kind of Scrooge. So now Secret Santa’s not happening, but the undercurrent of passive-aggressive resentment is unmistakable. What should I have done? What can I do now?

—Mr. Slate

The Gay Perspective: A group activity should have been discussed by the group. As the leader, you should have called a staff meeting to express your concerns and to hear suggestions. See if some sort of compromise or alternative holiday practice is in order. The activity is supposed to pull the group together, not rip it apart!

Ask Anyone is local advice for locals with problems. Please send your questions for our panel of experts to

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