If I Had Known You Were Coming--I Would Have Left Town
by Tina Blue
September 3, 2001
There are two types of people in this world: those who drop in unexpectedly to visit other people and those who get dropped in on by the first type. People of the second type never drop in on other people without calling first, and they also hate it when the other type drops in on them. So why do you suppose we can't find a way to get the drop-in folks to drop in on other drop-in folks and leave the rest of us alone?
Yeah, okay, I admit it: I'm a card-carrying member of the second group. At the age of fifty-one, probably more than halfway through my whole life, I have never dropped in unexpectedly to visit anyone. I always call first to see whether a visit would be convenient.
Why is it, then, that I am plagued by hordes of unannounced visitors camping on my doorstep, ignoring my "Do Not Disturb!" sign, pounding longer and louder on the door when I don't answer, and peering suspiciously through my window if I have been incautious enough to leave the drapes open to let the sunshine in?
I have a theory. Drop-ins don't drop in on each other because they are never home. They're all out roaming the streets looking for someone to drop in on. Correction: They're all enroute to my place to drop in on me.
My good friend Randy used to scold me, insisting that if I were firm enough with such people they'd get the message and leave me alone. But I am firm with them. It's just that by the time I've trained one of them to stay away, three more have added me to their route.
Besides, sometimes even as he lectured me over the phone, Randy would have to excuse himself to answer the door.
"Were you expecting someone?" I always asked. Of course not. Maybe he wasn't firm enough.
The problem is that drop-ins are always looking for company because they are usually bored and at loose ends. They don't enjoy their own company very much, and when they are alone, the afternoon and evening seem to stretch before them like a vast, dreary wasteland. They can't think of anything to do, and they are not sufficiently entertained by reading or thinking, so they head out to find someone else to amuse them.
I'm sorry, but I'm not anyone's MTV. Besides, the sort of person who is bored in his own company usually isn't scintillating company for anyone else.
I remember once mentioning to a friend how ironic it was that the people I enjoyed the most, the ones I would be willing to accept drop-in visits by, were the ones who never made such unannounced visits. That friend pointed out that one of the reasons I liked them so much was that those people were too considerate to come by without calling first.
She was right, but only partly. It's that those people are always busy, too--reading, writing, or working on some interesting project--so they don't need to wander aimlessly in search of company, and they know all too well what it's like to be interrupted at awkward times by someone who does.
So why do the drop-ins choose the non-drop-in types to visit?
I don't know. Maybe we're just better company.