Thread: Knock, Knock, Anybody ome?
03-08-2005, 09:52 PM #1
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Knock, Knock, Anybody ome?
And I always thought the phone ringing at "that time" was bad....
Knock, knock, anybody home? Yikes! It's not the start of a joke. Dropping by someone's home unannounced could be the start of a strained relationship.
Katherine Dedyna Times Colonist Tuesday, March 08, 2005
CREDIT: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist
"If someone comes over with an emergency or they're sad about something, my home is open to everybody day or night,'' says Maria Manna, who runs a manners consulting business in Victoria. But in all other cases, people should be cautious about dropping in unannounced.
MARIA MANNA AND THE SEXUAL INTERRUPTION
She can laugh and even talk about it now. But late one Saturday night, Maria Manna was as "mortified" as it gets when neighbours dropped in unannounced while she and her then husband were making love. And stayed.
Manna, who runs both a spa and a manners consulting business in Victoria, had no idea company was coming until she emerged from the bedroom to see them perched in the living room. Horrified, she bolted back into the bedroom and refused to come out. Her husband dealt with it.
"I died a thousand deaths,'' she recalls. And avoided talking to the couple for weeks.
Ten years later, they're still friends, but they've never discussed the fateful night.
"We just pretend that it didn't happen,'' she says.
Manna's ultra-personal experience is not the only reason she discourages the uninvited drop-in.
Given the pace of life and video surveillance over many public spaces, home really is the only refuge from the storm, she says. "It's really rude because they're intruding on your privacy, your sanctuary.''
She also finds it rude to ignore a knock on the door and would rather tackle the visitor in a gracious way that is friendly but firm. For instance: "Do you think that next time you could give me a heads-up? I really want our time to be special.''
It's perfectly OK for the at-home person to say, "Hey, what a surprise. This is really great but I've other things that I've been doing.'' And unfortunately, you'll have to keep to your plans.
"If someone comes over with an emergency or they're sad about something, my home is open to everybody day or night,'' she stresses. But otherwise, people should err on the side of caution, "especially if it's a new friendship.''
Because not everyone can handle visitors after they've had sex on the kitchen table.
BARBARA NARVER, WELCOME WAGON CEO
Barbara Narver's face is quizzical but congenial. Then she smiles. "Come on in. Don't worry about your shoes.''
It's a good thing the Oak Bay resident threw out the welcome mat when the Times Colonist dropped in unannounced one recent morning, because as CEO of the Welcome Wagon of Canada, Narver theoretically presides over more impromptu drop-ins than just about anybody on Earth. As many as 400,000 a year, including as many as 3,600 in Greater Victoria.
"I'd never be in my nightgown ... but I'm often in my grubbies,'' she says. Today, she's chic in black slacks, red sweater and a cream-coloured vest dotted with snowflakes, her greying hair well-styled. After all, she's back from her 7:30 a.m. book club meeting.
The house is very tidy. On an end table sits Emily Post's The Guide to Good Manners for Kids, should any little visitors desire diversion.
While Narver doesn't offer tea or refreshments during the hour-plus visit, had I asked for a cookie, she'd likely have taken it in stride. After all, she happily acquiesced to show me the house, even traipsing into the bedroom.
Still, she's not a fan of the drop-in. "We're not a drop-in society anymore,'' she says. "I would find that difficult to do. I respect people's privacy.''
And what's the difference with Welcome Wagon drop-ins, which occur days, nights and weekends? Well, they're quick and full of free goodies. Typically, a hostess asks: "Can we come in? We'll only stay a few minutes.'' And she'll likely decline tea or coffee because she doesn't want to ask to use the bathroom at the next call.
Often hostesses will phone first. But in any case, they're "very seldom rebuffed'' by newcomers, new grandparents or newlyweds, morning, noon or night, says Narver.
She has been with Welcome Wagon for 27 years and travels all over the country to keep things rolling with the business. The most common response is, "Oh, wonderful -- I was hoping you would stop by,'' says Lynne Trace, Welcome Wagon's co-ordinator in Greater Victoria. The only people who seem apprehensive may have come from places where "a knock at the door could be dangerous,'' she says.
Trace and her semi-retired husband have driven all the way to California to have lunch with her brother or give a forgotten item needed by a friend, then turned around and driven home.
Naturally, she's "quite thrilled'' with unexpected guests at her home. She never worries about being caught with a messy house. She just grabs the vacuum cleaner on the way to the door and looks like she's in the midst of a thorough cleaning.
- - -
SHARE YOUR STORIES ABOUT UNANNOUNCED ARRIVALS
What's your all-time worst or best drop-in story? Tell us, and your name will be entered in a draw for a basket of goodies. Send entries, including address and telephone number, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to the Life section at 380-5353 or by mail to Life Section, Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, V8T 4M2. Deadline for entries is Tues., March 22.
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03-08-2005, 10:04 PM #2
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Hey Rick, let's try this: Attention all Forums participants. Tell us your best and/or worst "Drop in" stories. You can tell it as the "Droppee" or the "Droppor" (you dropped, or you were dropped upon) Should be a fun thing, but we don't expect to give any prizes. After all, you don't want the IRS to drop in, do you?Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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