Archive for June 20th, 2011

How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors?

On a recent afternoon trip to the local grocer, I noticed a lady perusing the plant and flower selections outside of the store. I wasn’t totally sure if I knew her, but thought, “If that isn’t Mrs. X, no harm done. Go and say, ‘hello'”. So I did just that. I approached the woman whose back was to me and said, “Mrs. X?” The lady turned around and greeted me with a familiar smile and we hugged. She then commented on how big the tween and teen that I had in tow had grown.

Mrs. X was the secretary at the elementary school in my neighborhood. The same familiar smile that I saw at the grocer was the one that had greeted me for so many years. During the course of our conversation, Mrs. X and I realized that we live just two blocks away from one another. That got me to thinking (again) just how little we know about our neighbors. I had seen Mrs. X in the elementary school numerous times over the past six years, but never knew she was a neighbor.

Where I love, most days, we pull in and out of our garages never seeing or hearing from our neighbors. On occasion, we may happen to be outside working on our yards at the same time, but just smile and wave. Never once do we stop what we’re doing to walk over and shake the hands of the people geographically closest to us. Not all neighborhoods are this way, but mine is. What am I going to do about it? Am I going to go stop manicuring the lawn and greet a neighbor when I see them outside, or will I let my or their (perceived) level of comfort dictate how neighborly I am? Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that Mrs. X and I didn’t squander the opportunity to get to know one another and develop a friendship. She suggested that we get together and go for walks throughout our neighborhood, so I gave her my telephone number. That’s a start and I hope it catches on for other neighbors.

It would be nice to live in a community where everyone knows one another – like in the good ol’ days. We can make that happen one handshake or footstep at a time.

How neighborly is your neighborhood? Does it resemble anything from your childhood neighborhood or any of the feel-good movies you’ve seen?

Let’s chat!