Visiting people without calling first
From: Bob Morrison (
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 95 16:58 CST
On Thu, 12 Jan 95 13:32:30 PST, Rob Sandelin <robsan [at]> wrote:
> Subject: RE: "Gawkers" at cohousing communities (FWD)

> I just wanted to add that none of the points I made referenced in 
> anyway Sharingwoods attitudes or positions about visitors.  At 

  Thanks for making this clear. I was going to ask if Sharingwood had an
official (or de facto) policy on visitors that matches your views.

> Actually what is different is probably somewhere in our upbringings or 
> some other place where attitudes about visiting are instilled.
> I was taught and I guess feel pretty strongly still that visiting 
> someone's home who you do not know without an invitation is rude 
> behavior. I do not visit even my friends unless I call first.  Its just 
> one of those value things I guess.

  I grew up in a semi-rural culture in which it was OK for friends to stop
by without calling first. So did, I think, many of the members of this list
and of cohousing in general. 
  This culture evolved in the days before most people had phones, and the
only alternative to "stopping by" was to write, which required making plans
several days in advance. Even after everyone had a phone, there were some
advantages to "stopping by". One of the most pleasant ongoing experiences I
had while growing up was people stopping by. In many cases these people would
not have stopped by if they had felt a need to call first. Consider this
scenario: Jane lives in town and Mary lives in the country 5 miles from
town. Mary periodically goes into town to run errands. If she has time, she
likes to stop by Jane's house. She can't predict in advance if she will stop
by and if so, at what time, so it would be awkward for her to call before
leaving home. And it would be awkward for her to find a pay phone and call
just before stopping by. (In the case of when I was growing up, finding a
pay phone, parking, and making the call would have taken more time than the
visit itself!)
  Rob, it appears that you grew up in a different culture than what I have

Martin Tracy wrote:

> Speaking of fear, I've often wondered why so many message machines answer 
> with "You've reached 123-4567.  We're not here right now..."  The 

  This has happened to me several times, and it's very frustrating. I belong to
a club that has 20 or so meetings a month. I often need to call people I have
never met to get information. One time I called and got one of these
messages. I put my message on the machine and didn't get a call back for
two days. I sweated it out the whole time, knowing that if I had reached
a wrong number (due to a misprint, for example), the callee would have
probably not called me back, and I would have had no way of knowing that I
had reached a wrong number.
  Several times I have gotten a recording that said simply, "I can't take
your call right now." No name OR number. Something to REALLY make you sweat
it out while waiting for a call back.
  This actually is related to cohousing, because people who have just joined
a cohousing group as a prospective member need to make and receive a lot of
calls, and they initially can't recognize everyone's voice on a machine re-

Bob Morrison

Home: Boxboro, MA               Work: Digital Equipment Corp., Littleton, MA

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