When I imagined being a homeowner, I had high hopes of the kind of neighbor I’d be. Of course, I’d be the neighbor that everyone knew and loved because she was just so neighborly. Of course, I’d be the neighbor who baked and waved and threw birthday parties and smiled and introduced myself first and offered free babysitting services once a year. Of course.
But then I moved in.
Beyond a casual wave and awkward stares and nods, no one cared about the fact that we were new and fun and actually did like pies, pumpkin pies and apple pies and sweet potato pies.
I was a good neighbor before I became a neighbor.
Now, I won’t say that I’m a rude neighbor. I pick up trash when I see it. I usually wave and talk to parents with kids…or parents who look like they want to talk to me. And I sometimes wave to others without kids (when they dare to look me in the eye when I smile in their direction). Oh, and I do care about my neighbors and do think about them and their lives…but, with most of my neighbors, particularly the ones without kids, I show my “caring” feelings in unconventional ways.
In my head, this all makes sense. In my head, these stories are what make me feel OK with not really knowing my neighbors beyond casual hellos and goodbyes.
“Back in the olden days, neighbors knew each other. They shared sugar and pies,” or at least that’s what my 90 year-old grandma would tell me. But it’s 2012 now, and now, things have changed, I think. Or, maybe they haven’t changed, but that’s what I’ve been telling myself to rationalize my antisocial tendencies when it comes to 99% of the people who I live with in my neighborhood.
Do you know your neighbors?