Thursday, November 18, 2004

Stop the Drop Ins!

I despise the "drop in". For those of you who don't know what I mean, I shall explain through example. Its 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday. You don't have any obligations this morning, so you slept in for an hour. Still in your jammies and with a horrible case of bed-head, you lounge on the couch with a cup of your favorite fresh ground imported java amid a house strewn with dirty clothes, children's toys, and food encrusted dishes. Those things can wait until you finish your coffee and get a shower. There's no rush. This Saturday you decided to take it easy and made no solid plans. Everything seems right in the world today.

Suddenly, the peace and tranquility of this scene is dirupted by a car in the driveway. Its one of your relatives who decided to "drop by" without calling first. You rush for a baseball cap and on the way to the door you shove dirty laundry under the couch with your feet while tossing a dish towel over the dirty dishes. Its no use, the house is a still a disaster. You greet the relatives with a forced smile and feel obligated to explain why you are still in your pajamas. "Had a late night with a sick kid" or some similar lie. Then you're forced to share your special java brew with these intruders while making idle small talk.

You watch the minutes tick down as your perfect day slowly slips out of your grasp. When you finally get the relatives to shove off, you've lost the entire morning. Even though you still have the rest of the day to yourself, your chi has been thrown off and the tasks you wanted to spread out over the entire day must now be crammed into the space of an afternoon. While you mourn the loss of your leisure time, you curse the damned "drop in-ers" and try to imagine what their motivation could be to commit this heinously rude act.

What is wrong with these people? Why do they think this behaviour is acceptable? With the increased responsibilities of life in the 21st century--getting the kids off to school, coaching the hockey team, keeping the cars on the road and the house in order, all while holding down a more than full time job--its hard to find time to yourself. Free time and relaxation are a rare commodity and an extreme pleasure when the opportunity arises. The chance for some "me time" may not come around for another month or two. That's why when this time is taken away it feels like such a personal attack.

People who don't respect this personal times are robbers. The sad part is that they don't even know that they're doing it. They think that we'll be glad to see them and will welcome them into our dirty homes to drink our good coffee while we sit in our dirty jammies and we have nothing better to do on a Saturday morning than gossip about which garage sales they went to and the great deals they got and how the neighbor's daughter was caught shoplifting, and how fat aunt Suzie is getting and blah, blah, blah!?!?!

Here's the bottom line. Call ahead before you visit someone, people. See if they actually want to have you visit. Its common courtesy. Mom should have taught you this a long time ago. If there is something that you absolutely have to tell me, you can call my voicemail, email me at three different addresses, fax me, call my cell phone, or send me a letter for God's sake. Its the year 2004--technology has allowed us the capability to conduct business and personal communications without actually being in the same physical space as the other person. I'm sure in 1953 people had the free time to drop in on neighbor Fred's farm on Sunday after church unanounced and everyone would eat pie and have cider and sing songs around the old piano far into the evening and a good time would be had by all.

Unfortunately, this aint 1953, and the pressures of modern day living have made it very difficult to find the time for pie and cider singalongs. We've got instant messanger, yahoo groups, playstation 2 and 500 channels of cable TV. And I think that people in 1953 wouldn't have enjoyed the drop in or even tolerated it if they had Grand Theft Auto IV, internet auctions, or CSI twice a night on Spike TV.

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