Tuesday, 11 December 2012
The 2nd Visit
I’ll try and get to what I’m trying to say quickly, so excuse the next paragraph's laconic language:
This Saturday we had guests over (great!). One guest party brought a cake with them. At the end of it all, when everybody left, we noticed the cake was left untouched; we also noticed it was of a type the bringer of the cake likes the most. We jokingly SMSed them that they forgot their cake and they should help us eat it.
Guess what happened? Some quarter of an hour later they knocked on our door, again, and we all had some cake together (there were significant leftovers which we had to force ourselves to eat the next day).
I’ve enjoyed the cake, but more importantly I’ve enjoyed the unprecedented event that happened here.
We are living in an age where coordinating a meeting with friends requires weeks if not months of advance warnings. I shit you not: a month ago we tried to coordinate a play date for our five year old but were told the friend's weekend calendar is booked till after Christmas. Obviously, the more stakeholders involved, the more the merrier coordination becomes.
In contrast to culture of coordination and calendar appointments for social gatherings, I grew up in a culture where friends and relatives would just show up. They’d show up and we would love it. We didn’t have a choice because communications were vastly limited; the short distance between stakeholders meant mistakes did not cost much.
What has happened since? I put the blame on economics. We live in a society where if you’re not productive you’re nothing (check what we’re doing to the old and the disabled). True, we have more money these days, but we have much less time on our hands than my parents’ generation has had.
In contrast, that spontaneous revisit of our friend brought back some faith in hope for mankind. If people can still knock on our doors without an official invitation, letting us all have fun (and cake!) together, then perhaps all is not lost. Yet.
Image by Chocolate-Dessert-Recipes.com, Creative Commons license