Meet Thy Neighbor

While we’re on the subject of buzzwords, Community is another word I’d like to have a look at. The most valuable thing in the world today? The Community. Everyone is looking for one, be it online, sustainable, multicultural, or multilingual. We want our children to be community minded, we want them to grow up with a sense of who they are in the community and how they serve the community. Okay, we all like the community. But pop quiz, hot shot: Who is your neighbour?

If you are like me, most of you kind of fumbled with the question. It’s a common suburban lament. Nobody knows their neighbours anymore! We can list any number of factors as to why this is. Oh, it’s the design of this subdivision, with all these Mcmansions, it’s so impersonal! You can’t give out candy for halloween! It’s so unhealthy! Let’s not bother them! They enjoy their privacy. On and on and on. It doesn’t explain what is stopping us from ringing the doorbell and stopping by to say hi.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It involves somebody being annoying, being someone caught off guard, and all the other messy subtleties of face-to-face interaction. They might not  have the same opinions as you, or the same tastes. The only thing you have in common is your geography. But if we say we want community, that’s where it all starts.

2 thoughts on “Meet Thy Neighbor

  1. Melissa Quinn

    Meeting the neighbors is hard, even if you’re hoping for that Fred and Barney kind of relationship. We became aquainted with our neighbors when we moved in and it’s been a slowly evolving process. Neighbors aren’t like classmates or co-workers, whom you see everyday and have things immediately in common. We’re lucky that we all have kids in common; it’s a start. I’ve attended some parties, met other neighbors, and generally we have a good bunch of people around us. Baked goods tend to grease the social wheels quite nicely. I’m still reaping benefits from the strawberry cupcakes and brownies.

    And then there are the ones who drive a person crazy. One neighbor is a yard work nut, mowing his lawn after dark (I’ve seen the head lamp, no joke.) and chopping the crap out of his fruit trees until they look like nuclear holocaust survivors. He’s ALWAYS outside, practically lying in wait for passersby so he can talk their legs off. We can’t even get some privacy in the backyard, ‘cuz he’ll natter on over the fence. Dude, there’s a 6 foot fence for a reason. STFU!!! Bug off!

  2. Sara

    I remember when my family moved here, and my parents had a backyard BBQ for everyone on our street. Some of those people remained long time family friends, while others quickly faded away, but I guess the idea was that our family wanted to be friendly as the “new people” and see who we could become friends with. I’ve also heard that smaller communities are way better at finding these connections, both because there’s not much entertainment in the smaller communities (my family’s from small towns, so I say that with love) and that the people will band together for a common goal. Maybe it would help if we started thinking of our own suburbia as small communities, and establish connections between those on nearby streets who share our interests.

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