DEAR AMY: I love all of my neighbors and have been on great terms for many years with an older couple who live down the street.
In all the years I've known them, we've never discussed politics. Maybe that was a good thing, because in the last few weeks a sign appeared in their yard for a candidate I cannot stand. Without going into specifics, if this candidate should happen to win, I would seriously think about moving to another country.
I'm gay, and my neighbors know it, and the man they are supporting is only too happy to see me and my life sold down the river if he thinks it'll get him one more vote. Prejudice against gay people is a plank in his political platform.
I tell myself that my neighbors are the same people I've liked for many years, but I feel different about them now. Should I talk to them about it and try to explain what this man's election would mean for people like me? Or should I ignore it and try to forget what I now know?
I do know that the memory of all sorts of injustices and slights (both real and imagined) fades with time, but I hate feeling this way.
— Confused Neighbor
DEAR CONFUSED: Your neighbors have posted a yard sign advertising their support for a candidate, inviting a conversation with people who see it. The question is whether you are up to having this conversation with them.
Your neighbors may not be aware of this candidate's stand on gay issues. They may be aware of it but might not vote on social issues. Or they may agree with this candidate's views.
If you choose to speak to them, approach them with an open attitude, tolerance and a determination to listen. This is an attitude you would want from anyone questioning your own political views.
Sophisticated people living in a country devoted to free speech should be able to tolerate different — or even offensive — perspectives without wanting to leave the country, but you don't seem able to see things this way. This is something for you to work on.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have friends who live out of town whom we visit occasionally, staying with them in their home. (They come to our town occasionally but have relatives nearby and stay with them when they visit).
My husband, who has a bad back, says he wants to tell them "tactfully" (I do not believe this is possible) that the mattress in their guest bedroom hurts his back.
I have told him the only solution is for us to sleep in a hotel, since it is their house and they are under no obligation to buy a different mattress for their guests. He says he is sure he can't be the only guest who has complained about this. I don't think this justifies his request. What do you think?
— Wife and Friend
DEAR WIFE: If the choice is between staying in a hotel during repeated visits or purchasing a new mattress, the obvious answer is for your husband to offer to purchase a new mattress for your friends.
He can say, "We love staying with you when we visit, but my back problems are aggravated by your guest room mattress. Would you be willing to let me treat you to a new one?"
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to "Concerned Grandma," whose young grandson was cheating at games. My solution was to tell my young son that if he played with other people, he had to follow the rules so everyone had a fair chance, but if he wanted to play the game against himself, he could make up his own rules as he went along.
He spent many hours entertaining himself with outrageous rule changes and deck stacking. It was quite entertaining.
DEAR JEAN: I'm going to try this on the pint-size cheater in my life! Thank you.