Dat­ing site en­counter causes un­ease at work

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN STEVE BECKER

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 27year-old pro­fes­sional who works long hours at a hospi­tal. Dat­ing isn’t easy for me, so I de­cided to try an on­line ser­vice. My first time on­line I rec­og­nized a co­worker I see on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and have al­ways ex­changed smiles with, but don’t know per­son­ally. I wrote him a mes­sage just to say hi. I didn’t say I was in­ter­ested in him. I never heard back from him.

Since I sent that mes­sage he has checked my pro­file sev­eral times, but when he sees me in the hall­ways, he turns red and now just gives me half-smiles. I was wait­ing at the el­e­va­tor with him the other day, but he was so em­bar­rassed by the si­lence that I bailed and took the stairs.

He con­tin­ues to smile, but I’m not sure what to say to him the next time I see him. I think it’s rude that he didn’t re­ply to my mes­sage — even with a “See you around!” — but I’m too em­bar­rassed to do or say any­thing when I en­counter him. Help! — ON MY SHIFT IN OHIO

DEAR ON YOUR SHIFT: Your co-worker may not be par­tic­u­larly adept so­cially, or he may be reluc­tant to be­come in­volved with some­one where he works. Please don’t take his not re­spond­ing to your email so per­son­ally. The next time you run into him in the hall, just say hello. If he has any man­ners at all, he’ll re­turn your greet­ing and it may melt the ice.

DEAR ABBY: I work for a na­tional tax prepa­ra­tion busi­ness, and I have some ad­vice for cus­tomers to make the ex­pe­ri­ence bet­ter and more ef­fi­cient:

1. If at all pos­si­ble, leave the kids at home. At the very least, don’t al­low them to run around the of­fice. We have sen­si­tive equip­ment and pa­per­work that is not there to keep your kids en­ter­tained. 2. This is our busiest time of year. Lines can be long and clients are im­pa­tient, so please don’t hand us a bag of re­ceipts to add up. Plan ahead and do the ad­di­tion your­self. 3. Be­fore your ap­point­ment, ask what’s needed to make the process as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble. There are many re­sources on­line to help you get or­ga­nized.

4. If you have busi­ness ex­penses and mileage, have that in­for­ma­tion or­ga­nized and ready.

5. Be cer­tain you have re­ceived all of your tax-re­lated pa­per­work (W-2s, 1099s, etc.) be­fore com­ing in. Be­ing in a hurry will re­sult in a pay­ment owed to the IRS or the state be­cause the in­come wasn’t com­pletely re­ported. This small step can avoid many prob­lems.

6. And, please don’t be an­gry if you have been wait­ing and your pre­parer needs to step away for a short time. It’s not un­usual for us to work 10 to 12 hours a day help­ing cus­tomers. Like ev­ery­one else we oc­ca­sion­ally need a break to take our eyes off the com­puter screen for a lit­tle bit, so be un­der­stand­ing.

We want to give you the best ser­vice pos­si­ble and mak­ing it eas­ier on us will ac­com­plish this task. — JULIE IN KEARNS, UTAH

DEAR JULIE: I hope readers will pay at­ten­tion to your sug­ges­tions. Tax sea­son is stress­ful for ev­ery­one in­volved, but par­tic­u­larly for tax prepa­ra­tion pro­fes­sion­als. Be­ing cour­te­ous, con­sid­er­ate and as or­ga­nized as pos­si­ble will re­lieve some of the strain not only for the per­son crunch­ing the num­bers, but also for the cus­tomer.

All-im­por­tant cham­pi­onships, whether lo­cal, re­gional, na­tional or in­ter­na­tional, are played in a du­pli­cate for­mat in or­der to re­duce the el­e­ment of luck that might oth­er­wise de­ter­mine their out­come. Nev­er­the­less, the luck fac­tor can­not be en­tirely elim­i­nated.

For in­stance, the suc­ces­sion of op­po­nents you meet might or might not play well against you, which cer­tainly will have an im­por­tant bear­ing on how you fare. Also, you (or your op­po­nents) might get to ex­cel­lent con­tracts that go down be­cause of hor­ren­dous dis­tri­bu­tion, or get to poor con­tracts that make be­cause of highly fa­vor­able dis­tri­bu­tion.

Con­sider this deal played in the Blue Rib­bon Pairs many years ago by Dorothy Hay­den Tr­us­cott and B. Jay Becker. They reached three no-trump on the bid­ding shown. Tr­us­cott’s three-no-trump bid with the sin­gle­ton king of clubs cer­tainly was imag­i­na­tive and was am­ply re­warded when she made the con­tract af­ter West led a low club.

She won East’s queen with the king and ran six di­a­monds, sub­ject­ing West to se­vere pres­sure. He fol­lowed twice and was able to dis­card a heart and a spade com­fort­ably, but then, in or­der to pro­tect his king of spades, he was forced to dis­card two clubs.

Tr­us­cott next led a heart. West took the ace and cashed three clubs, but that was the end of the line as West was forced to lead from the K-8 of spades at the end.

You could call the hand a bril­liant suc­cess — if you were so minded — but, all the same, there was a lot of luck at­tached to it. At an­other ta­ble, against sim­i­lar bid­ding, West made the in­spired lead of the ace of clubs against three no-trump, and East-west col­lected the first seven tricks to put the con­tract down three.

For­tu­nately for Tr­us­cott and Becker, they were sit­ting at the right ta­ble.

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