Let me give you one instance: The doorbell rang a few days ago, right at dinnertime. Manhattan apartment living isn’t like living in a small town where neighbors might stop by unannounced. So if someone is at the door, it’s either the doorman or handyman checking a problem that emanates from your apartment (perhaps a leak) or the neighbor down the hall locked herself out and would like to use your phone.
David went to see who was at the door. It was a friend from the neighborhood who had come to say hello–with her two dogs. I had seen her husband in the street earlier that evening and told him to say hello to her. When she was out walking her dogs, she decided she’d stop by the say hello back. I was in the kitchen and motioned to David that I did not want to see anyone because we were in the middle of dinner, with a guest, no less. My friend had already made her way into the front foyer, so David politely told her this wasn’t a good time for a visit.
Whenever I call someone on the phone (including my sisters), I ask if I’m interrupting. I also would never think of dropping by anyone’s house without calling first. That goes for any time of day, especially mealtime.
When I was growing up, we lived next door to my uncle, aunt and cousins (Uncle Normie was my mom’s brother.) We lived in a semi-attached house, which means we shared a common wall. My uncle would pop in at all hours of the day, in the middle of Sunday lunch, nights and holidays. I loved my uncle, but as I got older, it irritated me more and more that he thought nothing of barging in on us.
People also barge in on conversations, which isn’t as consternating as barging into someone’s home, but it’s still irksome. I’m sure I’m guilty of that on more than one occasion.
We’ve all got to respect each other’s “spaces,” as we would have them respect ours. It’s one of those important FOF lessons.