One of the pleasantries of life we seem to have lost over the years is getting to know our neighbours. I listened to one of the women at work bemoaning the time she lived in a cul-de-sac and "everybody knew everybody's business". She hated that she was part of a neighbourhood network.
Moving into that dreaded suburbia was an interesting transition. We lived in our house for a couple of years before we got past nodding acquaintance with the people next door. Personally, I blame the distance on our self-opening and closing garage doors. You drive in and press a button and your door opens and then closes behind you - no getting out of the car in the driveway and no chance to catch the eye of the neighbours for a quick hello or a chat. Zip out in the morning and off to work, and zip in when you come home from work - and then you are in your fortress of solitude for the evening.
One of the unexpected bonuses of having more time on my hands is that I am getting out and walking around the block in the mornings - my one small claim to doing any exercise! The added bonus is that it has given me the opportunity to connect with my neighbourhood. I chat to anyone and everyone that I come in contact with - if you're watering your lawn or walking your dog then I will say hello and if you are in the mood for a chat then I am the woman for the job!
I've progressed to knowing the names of at least a dozen near neighbours and I'm even on coffee and weekend catch up terms with my closest neighbour (who is a midlifer just like me). I get to pat the other neighbour's dogs, I get (unasked for) advice from another retired neighbour who thinks he has the answer to everything......I'm happy to listen to him because I might gain a bit of knowledge somewhere along the line and it's only a matter of time before he invites me into the backyard to see his model railway set up (yes - exciting stuff I know!)
So, I am becoming the bastion for all things neighbourly - I want to fight the automatic garage door mentality. We may not be up to holding street parties yet, but that's only a matter of time. I just need to talk my introverted husband into starting a Christmas get together and we'll be off and running. I really hope there are others out there fighting the good fight for being part of other people's lives and not too many moving out of their cul-de-sac to escape the friendly people next door. I threatened our neighbour with wearing my underwear on the front lawn if they thought about selling up - a sure fire way to scare off any potential buyers!