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.