September 23, 2019

Bring Back the Casual Pop-In

“On the last Saturday of 2017, I was playing at the park with my 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, when I realized that we were going to be shopping for our New Year’s Eve feast in the neighborhood of some dear friends we don’t see very often. So the kids and I picked up a bottle of champagne and a dozen doughnuts and knocked on their door at 11 a.m.

Mom was up. Dad was dressed but a little foggy. The kids were just starting to wake. The freshman home from college got out of bed and gave me a hug and a smile.

We opened the box of doughnuts, popped the cork and had a 30-minute party that never would have happened if we’d put it on the calendar.

Making plans is the worst, and we all hope some of them will fall through. Not because we don’t want to see our friends, family and colleagues, but because we’re overbooked. We plan everything, even things that shouldn’t need planning. People are surprised when they get a phone call without a text warning, to say nothing of stopping by the house.

It wasn’t always this way. My pop-in habit, much like my liquor cabinet, is inspired by my maternal grandparents. They and their friends popped in on each other constantly. One couple used to show up at my grandparents’ front door at happy hour with an empty egg carton (my grandparents keptboth chickens and Tanqueray). My grandparents pulled up chairs, poured martinis, and sent them home with a dozen.

Sure, my grandma didn’t work outside the home, so it was easier for her to play host on the quick than it is for many families today. But their generation also placed more of a premium on being together.”

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