Mamacita says: Next door. Some people don’t even know who their next door neighbors are. We work during the day, and are so busy and tired at night that we no longer invite the neighbors to come over and sit on the porch with us. We live so close to other nice people, and we barely know them.
As a child, I knew who all our neighbors were. Most of them had kids my age or near it, and we played together all the time, inside each other’s houses and in everybody’s yard. Everybody’s mom was all of our moms. We seldom saw any dads, but it was a different era and most of the dads were at work.
We did know that every mom on the block would tattle to every other mom on the block if they saw any of us doing something we shouldn’t be doing. It kept us fairly well-behaved.
When neighborhoods had sidewalks, people used to walk on them. It was another way to meet the neighbors. As kids, we walked almost everywhere on those sidewalks. We walked to school. We walked to the store. We walked downtown. We walked to the library. It was inconceivable to expect a ride to any of these places. I mean, what in the WORLD.
My neighborhood has no sidewalks. People walk their dogs in the middle of the streets here. This is fine, because there is little traffic here, and dog-walking neighbors are usually friendly. I still don’t know their names, but we wave and exchange remarks about the weather.
There is only one house with little kids, and whoo boy, that family would not have lasted two weeks in my old neighborhood. So loud. So intensely, incredibly, unnecessarily loud. Screaming people.
But that’s my neighborhood today. Like most everything else, neighborhoods have changed.
The internet has given us a second chance to hang out with nice neighbors. Tired as we are, we can press a few buttons and have instant access to lots of wonderful people. Our internet neighbors are warm and friendly and we love them, as our parents loved the neighbors next door and across the street and down the block. They had time. We don’t. It’s a shame.
But late at night, after the kids are in bed, when all the actual neighbors are asleep, we can sit at our computers and talk with our internet neighbors, and catch up on their lives, and learn about their children and their jobs and their pets and their homes and their hobbies and interests. We help each other with our problems, and encourage each other. We sympathize, and we rejoice. Just like good neighbors do.
Nothing has really changed except the location of the neighbors. And on the internet, there are no barking dogs, screaming kids, vandals, blaring sirens, loud parties, or cranks. Well, there ARE, but we don’t have to notice them.
Unless we want to.
Yes, our internet neighbors are the finest kind. I love you all. I really do. You are real. I’m real. And if you lived near enough, I would loan you a cup of sugar any time of day or night.