Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We Can't Do Spur-of-the-Moment Anymore!

Although there are many differences between today’s world and the one that I grew up in, one that comes to mind is that no one ever “drops in” on anyone anymore. That includes relatives. If I Iived closer to my mother, I could “drop in” on her, but I can’t drop in on my kids.

I think the main “causes” or “differences” is the business of everyone today. We have schedules, and they do not include marginal time for “Divine appointments,” as I used to think of them. I read somewhere where it’s not correct “etiquette” to drop in on folks. I think that is sad.

When I was young, the only reason someone would turn you away at the door is if someone was ill or they were in the middle of painting a room. Even if the person (my peer) wasn’t home, I was welcomed by whoever was home! I knew the parents and siblings of my friends. Not that we planned this, but different families ate at different times and many times I found myself pulling up a chair and eating supper with them. The same thing happened in our house, no one was turned away. Meals were not fancy.

We had several running gags at the dinner table and one of them was the entire family stopping, and “watching (the guest) eat.” This was reserved for boyfriends, if he wasn’t offended and could laugh with us, he passed muster. Even my husband had to pass muster.

My friends and I would get in a car of an evening and say, “who shall we visit tonight?” Then we were off trying to stir up some mischief in someone’s home, OR pick them up and go for pizza.

I wonder if girls were more likely to do this because we had slumber parties and in doing so, we DID get to know the families better. However, I must admit that there were plenty of guys who dropped in to our house! That’s a testimony to both of my parents, who made people of all ages feel welcome.

This is how I met my husband. I was 22 years old and my friend Debbie* and I were out running around. SHE suggested we visit another friend, who was Jerry’s neighbor. This is all recorded here in a previous blog here. We walked two apartments over and were introduced by our pal’s wife to Jerry. If we didn’t have the “nerve” to visit other people, I most likely would never have met my husband.

I know, we are all so busy today, even though I write this as a retired person who does have more time. Unless we are sick or painting a room, I would love having drop-in company! Living in a condominium does mean it could happen, although my next-door neighbor and I would text each other first. You SEE so much of how the others live that you aren’t surprised very often, so you just knock on a door (and hope no one is taking a nap!)

I guess I miss the informality of relationships, AND the interaction with family members, the way it used to be. I may have a handful of people I could drop in on, and vice versa of course. Debbie* is probably at the top of that list, even still.

It’s a shame that we are so scheduled that we can’t do anything spur-of-the-moment anymore. Those are some of the best memories I have.

As a society, we have lost something.


  1. I think with both parents working outside the home they just don't have the time. Kids are into so many after school activities. They need to be picked up from. Neighborhoods are not the same.

    1. I know in my home both parents worked, but you are right about kids being in activities. We weren't [as much] but we were able to walk home which makes a huge difference in time management. But even as a retired woman, I don't feel I can drop in, which reflects a change in society's norms, not personal norms. "Kids are into so many after school activities." I question how many are needed, but my own kids had to have the grades before activities were considered.

  2. It's been that way for quite some time. I also find it so sad we have come to a place where we need an invitation to visit with family and friends. With texting, a quick one or two sentences has replaced phone to ear or face to face. Soon, we all will forget what each other looks like. Cherryl.

    1. This is one of those things that "evolves," like so much of life. I'm trying to think of a defining moment, but when you're talking about behavior, it's hard to do that.

    2. Think back, people were "busy" with scheduled activities always. If anything, busier, because being "homemaker" was a full time job. (that didn't correlate correctly, but you're of the same era as I am and know you understand,) Kids still had before and after school activities. They also were involved in scouts or sports or library, church or other planned events.Family gatherings were more than birthday parties or holiday events. I don't think families over time have become busier than families before them. They have just chosen their priorities differently.

    3. I have to agree. And it's not just about families, it's friends also. Just look at your Facebook feed. Selfies (or maybe waiters) taken of every night out. But I guess the point is that those events are planned, not spontaneous.