Monday, November 12, 2007

Surprise Weekend Company

I love my family. I'd do anything for them --even screw up my whole weekend for them and their inconsiderate choice to drop in unexpectedly. And then after the weekend is done, and I stand there in the driveway waving in bittersweet sentimentalism at their departing car, I have to turn around and pick up the pieces of my shattered time management efforts and a dozen or more missed deadlines.

Call. Please call. It's not so hard to call --really it's not. If you KNEW back on Thursday that you were going to drive from Manhattan to Boston for a concert, and if you KNEW you had your heart set on crashing here for the weekend so that you could avoid paying for a hotel, don't call me at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon and say: "I'll be there in four hours." I literally dropped everything -- and I do mean EVERYTHING-- and started cleaning and doing laundry and vacuuming, and went grocery shopping, ALL for you! I neglected my script all weekend for you, even though I promised a professional script consultant in Los Angeles that I'd have the completed script in his mailbox by Sunday. I also missed my Sunday evening web radio program that I am the contracted transcriptionist for, and so that's an entire transcription job that I am now going to be grossly behind on.

You saved yourself from having to pay a costly hotel bill. Good for you! I am SO proud of your ability to be shrewd with money! But you also effed-up my entire weekend! And yet you're my family, and so I luv ya! [Grrrrrrrrrrrr!]

Now, maybe you think because we're family that somehow it's "okay" to be a little slipshod with the niceties of calling ahead of time. Life is hard. Deadlines are tough to make, so in your own efforts at trying to keep on top of things, maybe you FORGOT to call me on Thursday (or even Friday) to give me a fair heads-up that you were coming on Saturday. So I guess your time-management leaves something to be desired. And hey! I can relate! I too struggle with the whole time-management thing (I guess it runs in the family). But you did MORE than just muck up my calendar. It runs far deeper than that. You also denied me the ENJOYMENT of your company.

Had you called ahead of time, I could have tackled the task of preparing for your visit in a spirit of joy. Instead of insanely tearing up and down the grocery store aisles on Saturday evening, I would have been in there on Saturday morning thinking fondly of you and your favorite foods, not grumbling about the stinkin' toothbrush you asked me to pick up for you because you were silly enough to forget your own. Hospitality runs both ways, you know. It's not just the host who needs to be gracious but the guest as well. And it's in that graciousness that the true enjoyment is found for both sides of the arrangement.

The word "hospitality" is from the same root word as "hospital." There is rest and healing to be found in the entire undertaking --for BOTH the guest AND the host. But effective hospitality --like effective hospital care-- needs preparation, while a rush job doesn't always deliver and can even be detrimental.

Please don't make me resent your presence. Please don't make me dread the burden of your coming. Please let me enjoy and derive comfort from your visits. Just a little bit of warning is all I ask. You're family so you're always welcome, but you're not always convenient.


Mercurie said...

I have to give my family credit, at least they call if they're going to come over for an extended visit. Not that it matters, we all still live in the same area.

Sheila West said...

You must have grown up on the right side of the tracks then, Mercurie.

jasdye said...

maybe they unloaded on you due to the fact that their pro sports teams are sucking right now while the pats, red sox and even celtics are in a humongous upswing.

but then again, maybe they're just taking advantage of you. sweet, sweet familia. can't live with 'em...