Where I grew up, people dropped by. â€śWe were runninâ€™ around and thought weâ€™d drop by.â€ť My parents and I would be out looking at tractor hitches at TSC (Tractor Supply Company) then mom would say, â€śHey honey, would you drive by Jeannieâ€™s? I wanna see howâ€™s she doing. Her husband hurt his back, or her cousin got Lupus or, or...â€ť Any number of bad things can happen. Out here in California, we say â€śchallenging thingsâ€ť and donâ€™t admit theyâ€™re â€śbad.â€ť Bad relationships, cancer, jobs, HIV, family problems and, last but not least, our pets die.
Somehow, out here in California, I gathered Drop By-er friends. I say â€śsomehowâ€ť because I didnâ€™t do friend-entrance-exams at The End UP or Faster Pussycat!
What happened to dropping by? Did everyone used to when they were young? Maybe it is just Midwestern after all, or is it age? People got too busy?
Is it technology? With no cell phone, one drops by to ask a favor, or tell a story in person.
I say to drop by even if you look messy. I am Femmepress Shar, so if I say this then take heed! Who cares if your mascara is runny. If you hear a story, recipe, inspirational thought a friend would likeâ€” drop by to tell them. Bring them an orange.
My friend Smeeta drops by with a teabag in hand. I bring hot water out to the porch and we chat while watching the baby sleep in the car, then she leaves in 20 minutes. Drop byâ€™s donâ€™t have to be long.
Go places with someone else. Do you know someone who also goes to the doctor on Tuesdays? Yoga on Wednesdays? Maybe they used to go but now you donâ€™t see them? I learned from my mom to drop by and find out what happened. Maybe they will get inspired to go again if you offer to
When someone is going through hard times, bring them ice cream, validate them, ask questions, offer advice and give hugs. Do this even for the person whoâ€™s eternally optimistic, who insists, â€śIâ€™m fine,â€ť even though they got dumped, fired or their cat died because thatâ€™s who will unexpectedly try suicide.
Always hug and tell people that you love them even if it embarrasses them. Who cares? When weâ€™re in the middle of worrisome timesâ€”wondering when the phone will ring with biopsy resultsâ€”itâ€™s much nicer if you are chatting with a neighbor watching East Bay sunsets while the kids do cartwheels or sipping hot cocoa enjoying a foggy afternoon.
Some of my friends only see each other at 4-hour cocktail parties that have to be planned. I tell them, â€śCome hang out for a few minutesâ€”donâ€™t wait for the perfect moment!â€ť
Life is short and fragile. If someone is important to you, you must let them know. Drop by, drop in, and drop the formalities!