Do drop in (the art of spontaneity)
by JO FRENCH
10th February 2020
TURNING THE calendar over from January seems a bit like firing the starters pistol at an athletics track.
The moment it turns; the cruisy, lazy days of January start to fade from my memory, the prompts on my calendar no longer visible, and the days ahead fill with routine and to do lists that require the skills of a hurdler.
But before it fades completely I want to grab hold of a few moments and set them firmly in place.
One in particular was from our annual family trip to Tasmania to see my mum.
Typically, we don’t venture far from Mum’s place, instead we just slow down, enjoy long walks on the beach and a few too many serves of hot chips and ice-creams after swimming in the ocean.
But this year we added a little something extra and took off for a few days to the Tasman Peninsula, primarily known for its main attraction, the Port Arthur Historic Site, and some incredible rock formations at Eaglehawk Neck.
We skipped Port Arthur and its busloads of tourists and instead found spectacular beaches, captivating scenery and a remote gin distillery that makes Butterfly Gin — a deep blue gin that turns pink when tonic water is added.
It was an impulsive escape, and we just happened to be the lucky family that got the last available room on the entire peninsula that weekend — staying at Pirates Bay (how fun does that sound?) — one of the aforementioned beautiful beaches.
The peninsula is host to amazing walking tracks, many taking you to cliff tops that make you feel giddy as you look over the edge at powerful waves that crash the rugged coastline beneath you, and small seaside villages that offer magnificent views.
Doo Town is one of these villages.
A tiny seaside town of shacks at the south end of Pirates Bay, it is famous for its quirky house names.
A tradition that started in the 30s, when Hobart architect Eric Round named his shack “Doo I”.
His neighbour quickly replied with Doo-Me and a friend followed up with Doo-Us.
The tradition still continues today with most of the town’s shacks having “Doo” names, such as Dr Doolittle, Toucan Doo and a favourite of mine, Doo-write, and then there is Doo-lishus, the food van at the nearby Blowhole.
The hunt was on for the best name.
And then we happened upon Doo Drop Inn and I firmly announced that was the winner for me.
I love it when people drop in.
It doesn’t happen often and of course you can be caught unawares, but it makes my day when a friend just drops in because they were “in the area” or “had a few minutes to spare”.
But it is rare, perhaps a thing of the past, a habit of bygone days when neighbours and friends just dropped in for a cuppa.
According to my research, which involved the very scientific face to face conversations with local friends and a social media post, I’m of a rare breed myself and most do not like a drop in.
I was shocked.
It seems the drop in has been replaced by invitation only, with busy lives set up to take the blame.
I wonder how much the pressure to have things in order adds to it, and of course, the Instagram images of beautiful homes feeds the inadequacy many feel in relation to housekeeping and home decorating skills.
One research participant said, “I need a few days’ notice, so I can tidy up, bake, make the house look nice and make sure there is a bottle of wine in the fridge.”
My oh my — that sounds more like a fancy dinner to me, and unfortunately her sentiment was echoed by many others.
And to that I say stop this madness.
What are we doing to ourselves that how our homes look is more important than having an open door?
What are we doing that our lives are so busy that we must schedule every visit, every cup of tea with a friend?
Here’s the challenge — stop the styling, stop setting ourselves up for perfection, just let go and instead breathe deeply of the friendship and spontaneity of a friend at the door — they didn’t come to see your house.
Perhaps be the one that drops in on friends, maybe it’s time to start a revolution and bring back the drop in.
As an extrovert I love to see my friends, any time of day and night, and I am happy to be distracted, to discard any task for a conversation.
So if you need somewhere to practice — doo drop in.