Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I am so rude

People know you work at home and yet they come over unannounced. You want to be polite and friendly and so you open the door, you let them in, yet your mind is awash in words, in what you were just writing, so you stand there a little spaced out but trying to be sociable so they don't feel totally uncomfortable. They talk on and on, you say little and begin to wonder why you opened the door at all, being all closed-mouth and rude as you are.

Writers tend to feel guilty over exhibiting this behavior. I do, and yet I don't. I mean, I hate being rude. But I work at home! Do I just not answer the door at all? What if they saw me sitting in here typing away as they walked up to the door? Wouldn't that be worse, and even ruder?

When I answered the door, my friend said, "What're you doing?"


She sniffed. "You baking?"

"A pot of garbanzo beans is simmering."

She started chatting and I just wanted to get back to my work. I should have said, "Travis will be home from school very, very soon and I really need to go right now."

When she left--10 mintues later, at that--I thought, "You were so rude! You should have done it some other way!"

Maybe wearing a sandwich board as you walk up to the door that says, "I'm writing and rude today."

I dunno.

What's the right thing to do here, when someone already knows you work at home? Or do you just not even open the door?


David Anaxagoras said...

I'm pretty antisocial and don't really talk to my neighbors, so I'm lucky that way. But I do have a good friend that sometimes calls on the phone when I'm writing. If it feel like taking a quick break, I answer the phone with "Can't talk, writing," and he knows it's going to be a short conversation. Sometimes, if he won't shut up, I'll just hang up on him. We have an understanding. Maybe it's a guy-thing.

Without Further Delay said...

I never answer the door. Unless it's someone I can deal with... and they will make their presence known by knocking AND yelling my name.

I screen every call and only answer people I trust won't waste my time.

I also live in a very "ethnic" neighborhood which discourages any potiential casual dropping by.

Time is precious for me... and really what these people want is entertainment. In earlier times before radio and TV good conversation was all most folks had. It still works wonders on most people.

It's not selfish for you to say: "I will not entertain you right, now I'd rather do ____."

But Barbara, you are like me and we don't like hurting peoples' feelings. So we would never say such a thing... so just stop answering the phone and the door. They'll get the picture and you won't have to be the bad guy.

"Why didn't you answer the door yesterday when I knocked?"

"Oh, sorry... I was busy."


It could work.

Slap-Happy said...

No... be rude. Go ahead. Whoever is stopping by is either a good enough friend to be okay with it and not get deeply offended, or they aren't a friend and can cope with brisk professional send-offs.

Recently, I noticed some folk with a "working from home" sign in their front lawn, which might serve as a warning.

Pat's perspective said...

I need to voice this question for my own sake; if it rings a bell with any of you, then...extra credit--
Barbara, why assume that YOU are the one being rude?
Would you stop by a friend's office, construction site, band rehearsal without appointment or invitation and expect them to chat about baked goods?
I find myself some days saying sarcastic things like "did I forget to turn off the lights on that statue of liberty on the lawn?"
I don't advise this approach as it can go downhill fast and end up at "Even prisoners get 20 minutes yard time for crying out lout! Back up! Back up! Back up!"
Short version: why not edit "I am so rude" down to three precious little -different- words: