“I can’t re­mem­ber the last time that I just ‘popped in’ to visit some­one”

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Columnist -

Re­mem­ber the “pop in”? It would usu­ally hap­pen on a Satur­day arvo – there’d be a knock at the door and in would walk Pam and John and their two kids. They were just pass­ing through and thought they’d come in for a cuppa. The cuppa would lead to an im­promptu din­ner, which would lead to a sin­ga­long that would end, af­ter some plead­ing, with a sleep­over. It was the best way to spend the e week­end as a kid and, best of all, , it was a sur­prise.

I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I just st popped in on some­one, , or some­one popped in on me. No-one is ever “just pass­ing sing through” now.

Catch-ups -ups these days are an or­gan­i­sa­tional isa­tional mir­a­cle. A feat that at re­quires all of one’s lo­gis­ti­cal pow­ers. Take this text ex­change ange with a friend.

Me: Hey, ey, wanna get to­gether with the kids Wed­nes­day ay morn­ing?

Friend: d: Can’t do Wed­nes­day. y. Thurs­day OK? Where should ould we go?

Me: How ow about the Botanic Gar­dens? ar­dens? Weather should be OK and it’s kinda be­tween both th of us.

Friend: d: Great. What time though? gh?

Me: Well… Evie needs to be back for her er sleep at 12.30pm so could we do o about 10am? Friend: Oooh could be tricky, James won’t wake up from his morn­ing sleep till 10.30am and then we’ll need to be home for Mia’s nap at 1pm. Could we do 11am? Me: Not sure that will give us enough time. If only we lived closer!!

Friend: What about Satur­day? Me: Ol­lie has ten­nis, then we have a b’day party, then we’re go­ing to look at some new draw­ers, then have af­ter­noon tea, then din­ner with the in-laws. Sorry! Frie Friend: See you in a few years! Me Me: Luv ya. It w was like sync­ing the di­aries of tw two CEOS. But I reckon that co con­ver­sa­tion (as bor­ing as it was to read) ex­plains why we no lo longer do im­promptu pop ins. Firstly, PHONES have killed al all the fun. A pop in is only a pop wi with­out any prior com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and t these days no-one dares pop­ping in w with­out a quick text first: You hom home? Thought we might pop past. Right Rig there. Pop in killed. If I had just landed on my g girl­friend’s door, she would have wel­comed me in, we’d have had a cof­fee and a laugh, the kids w would have missed bed­time, but they’d have just fallen asleep on the way home in the car and the world wouldn’t have ended. Which brings me to the sec­ond rea­son. Sched­ules. We’re so over-planned these days. Meals, sleep times, sport, shop­ping trips… there’s no time for spon­ta­neous catch-ups. When I was grow­ing up, we pretty much hung at home all week­end. Noth­ing was open, nowhere to be, just pot­ter around the house.

Which brings me to my fi­nal point. House pride. Our “drop-in” guests would usu­ally ar­rive in the mid­dle of my step­dad put­ting the wash­ing on the line or my mum mark­ing uni as­sign­ments on the din­ing table. But she’d push her mark­ing to the side so there was enough room to sit, and our friends would chip in and usu­ally start fold­ing the clothes.

Mum would whip up a slice, then con­vince the guests to stay for din­ner and she’d grab a cou­ple of bot­tles of wine and pro­duce a din­ner for 10 out of thin air like a i culi­nary Macgyver.

No-one cared there were sheets dry­ing in the lounge room or that there were only enough bread rolls for five be­cause we weren’t ex­pect­ing guests. There was no ex­pec­ta­tion of In­sta­gram pics of the per­fect home with per­fect din­ner plates. Just real friends eat­ing real food in a real home. Bring back the pop in, I say.

“We are so planned these days. There’s never time left for an im­promptu catch-up”

Car­rie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm week­nights, on Net­work Ten.

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