I went to visit a friend up in the mountain village of Raches, and I realised that I didn’t call, or text, or arrange it ahead of time. I was in the area with an hour or so to spare and thought I would just drop by. No one was home, so I put a flower pot in front of the door so she would know that she had some company stop by. Of course when she came home later that afternoon and saw the flower pot her curiosity was sparked. By evening she had phoned me to ask if I was the visitor. I said I was and laughed that “perhaps the next time I stop by, you might be home.” What struck me on my drive back down the mountain to Nas, was the essence that we enjoy on the island to be able to have the freedom to act this way - the ability to make a spontaneous stop, and just think of someone and go for a visit.
It struck me with such a contrast because I had just come back from the States where I was visiting my family for the holidays, and it was a feeling I really missed when I was there. In Detroit, like in any modern city, everyone is busy with work, their kids, ferrying them to school, sports, and trying to juggle time for their marriages and their friendships. Whenever people do have some “free” time, it's usually an opportunity to either catch up on work that was missed, or to just get some rest. So socialising usually has to wait. I often hear the phrase, ”we should meet somewhere for dinner." Then we resort to sending a text message or on Facebook, then before we've managed to make a plan, the demands of a busy city life take over. And the dinner we so eagerly wanted to make time for never actually happens - and we go back to the talking over text or email. Then I often wonder if I would socialise this way if I were in the States all year round, or would I make the time to stop on by, the way I would on the island.
I believe that we can find those extra moments to stop by a friend’s house, to come together for a simple cup of tea or glass of wine and a bite to eat - visits ideally could be done with little planning. After all, that's what friendships are about - being social and interacting. Perhaps in the hectic modern cities, we could make it even more important to stop by and leave a flowerpot on a porch… or just even a simple note. On the chance that your friend is home, excellent. You can talk, or lend a hand with dinner, or share a sip of wine. It’s so much nicer than talking into the speaker phone.