I got tickled watching a comedian on YouTube the other day. In the video, he talked about how we respond to our doorbell ringing now as opposed to how we did so 30 years ago. Back then, we were excited to hear it ring. We were thrilled to have “company.” Up in my grandparents’ neck of the woods, they referred to it as “viztin.” People would visit just to visit—to keep each other company for a spell.
The homeowners would always offer up something to drink, which was usually sweet tea—sweet tea so thick it could be poured on a pancake. They’d usually try to feed you, too. If the phone rang, they’d either let it ring or pick it up and tell the caller they’d have to call them back, because they had company. Now, the phone takes precedence over everything. Boy, times certainly are a’changing!
Today, when the doorbell rings, my heart starts pounding like I’m back in Iraq during a mortar attack. I immediately want to hit the floor or take cover.
Once I regain my composure, I tiptoe to the door to see who could possibly be contemplating coming through my front door. What could they possibly want? I tiptoe, even though I have carpet. One can never be too careful when it comes to doorbell ringers.
I’ll look through the peephole to see if it’s a friend or a foe or someone I don’t even know. If I don’t open the door, I stand there and watch them like a one-eyed hawk until they leave. Sometimes, they even have the gall to ring it a second time. Who raises these animals?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I wave or speak to someone and they look at me like I have a carrot poking out of my ear instead of simply waving back or saying hello. How difficult is it to acknowledge someone’s presence? I remember my uncle being so excited about seeing Bo Jackson one time when Bo was still at Auburn. My uncle spoke to him. Bo didn’t strike up a conversation with him. In fact, he didn’t even say hello. He grunted. That’s it; he grunted, but the grunt was acknowledgement. That’s all I’m asking for. In the Army, we answer everything, good, bad, or indifferent, with “hooah.” It’s an acknowledgement.
Growing up I knew all of my neighbors. I probably went into half, if not more, of the houses in my neighborhood at some point during my childhood. I broke bread or windows in some of those houses, too. Nowadays, we don’t even know our neighbors. We may know the people directly next to us, but that’s about it. The folks down the street might as well be living atop Mount Kilimanjaro. Times, they are a’changing.
For the record, all the “viztin” I experienced as a child was up around my grandparents’ house. No one ever visited us at our house. Mama didn’t care to have people over, so we kept the house locked up tighter than Fort Knox, hooah. Well, not literally.
In fact, we didn’t even lock our doors. We didn’t even have a key for the front door.
We’d leave the door unlocked while we were at school all day. Heck, we even left the door unlocked when we loaded up the Pinto to go to Panama City for the week. Who would do that today? No one. Why? Because, times have already changed.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.