A few weeks ago, I was visiting friends in Omaha, and we were sitting around their family room chatting when the doorbell rang. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my friends weren't expecting company, since I was their company. One of them got up to answer the door, and I said to her, "Why don't you just not answer it?," since I was going to be getting on a plane in a couple of hours and wanted as much quality time with them as I could get. But she said she didn't want to be rude and that it would only take a moment to see who it was. Well, come to find out, it was their neighbors, Steve and Jackie, and the reason I know their names is because they spent the next two hours - my final two hours in Omaha - visiting with us. Apparently, neighbors drop in on each other all the time in the subdivision my friends live in, unannounced and unembarrassed.
They weren't bad people, Steve and Jackie. But I'd never met them before and will probably never see them again, whereas I basically grew up with the friends I was out there to visit. I brought this up on the way to the airport, told them that I felt cheated out of a full visit with them. They sincerely apologized, then shrugged their shoulders and said "What can you do?" I can think of a couple of things they could have done. They could have told their neighbors they already had company, a good old friend from way back when, or they could have let the doorbell ring. But my husband, when I told him the story, sided with my friends. "It wasn't like it was the whole weekend," he told me. No, it wasn't the whole weekend, but I'll probably only see these guys a few more times during my lifetime, and I'd like the time together to count. Which is why I'm writing to you: Do you think I'm crazy?
Friend or Fiend
Friend or Fiend: No, I don't think you're crazy. I also don't think you grew up in a small farming community, like I did, where this kind of thing happened - still happens? - all the time. On a Sunday, after church and lunch, my parents would start a fresh pot of coffee, sit down at the kitchen table and wait. In no time, here would come Ron and Sue or Uncle Tub and Aunt Nellie or Reverend Mitchell, still driving home the points he'd made in that morning's sermon. I don't remember there ever being any overlap. If Ron and Sue were there, you could pretty much bet Uncle Tub and Aunt Nellie wouldn't barge in. Maybe they drove by, saw Ron and Sue's car and kept going. Or maybe there was a schedule kept somewhere, perhaps by the Big Fella Upstairs. Whatever it was, it worked like a charm.
That was then, and this is now. Nobody drops over to my house unannounced these days, and if they ever did I probably wouldn't answer the door unless I was absolutely sure who it was. I had a friend a few weeks ago who, thinking I wasn't home and needing to pick up something I'd set out for him, walked in the side door, straight up the stairs and into the kitchen, where I was eating my morning cereal. If I'd had a Taser, I'd have zapped him right between the eyes. We stay-at-homes are a little jumpy these days, what with all the strangers who've come knocking at our doors. But that doesn't mean I don't love the idea of friends busting in on me, ready to sit down for a little while and solve all the world's problems. They just may want to make sure they're wearing rubber-soled shoes.
As for your own friends, Friend or Fiend, you can borrow my Taser when it arrives. In the meantime, I'd cut them some slack. I mean, is it really their fault if the Big Fella Upstairs screwed up the schedule?
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