Monday, June 5, 2017

Neighborliness --- Day 6/106

Walk: T. Joe's, Hi Tech Nails (ie, Monday errands)
Distance: 2.5 miles, Home Yoga

So Ciwt was just reading her monthly neighborhood newspaper about a couple of her neighbors. They have been here for fifty years and love, love, love our neighborhood.  (As does Ciwt). According to the article, when the woman sees somebody new move in, she takes her home baked goodies over and says, "Hi. I'm your neighbor down the street.  You must be frazzled from moving and need something to snack on..."  She also makes 'quiet distributions of home baked cakes on birthdays,' and the two of them make a point of 'wandering into neighborhood shops and talking to customers and salespeople.' They also make a practice of striking up conversations with other diners in restaurants," often inviting their new acquaintances to dinner at their house.

Ciwt is still reeling.  "Please, please, please don't let this couple come into a shop Ciwt is in or let them sit next to her in a restaurant."  Please.

Obviously, since they warranted a full page, laudatory spread, there are very different ideas of neighborliness out there.  Ciwt considers herself - and her neighbors agree - a good neighbor because she does things like pay all her building dues on time, pick up mail when neighbors are traveling, take in packages, interview service people when the building needs repairs.  Just general overseeing, accountability, pleasantness - and Privacy.  Sometimes - every great once in a while - her building has wine and breaks bread together - and we always feel safe to be totally open with each other about building, and sometimes personal, concerns.  But, other than that, we honor each other by letting people lead their lives and not sharing any information about them to inquisitive others. Or something like that; anyway she's often told how much her neighbors value her.

A lot of people live in cities for freedom and anonymity among other benefits.  At least that is what Ciwt assumes.  They come together - maybe bond - over common interests, not because they happen to live near each other. Or at least this is what Ciwt values. Not so much that she wants to be part of some cake bake, do-good church group or other old-timey 'neighborly' activities.

But others have different ideas.  She had a yoga student for instance, who pestered her about her age. To Ciwt this is private information which comes out when it seems appropriate.  But this student would hear none of it, went home to search for Ciwt's age on the internet - and promptly told everyone.  Ciwt assumes for the sake of 'neighborliness.'  (If I like you, I get to know everything about you - or something).

Some people, Ciwt guesses, want to believe we are all one big, neighborly family.  Certainly the people at her local newspaper must.  To Ciwt, these people are being insistent, intrusive, and therefore, Not neighborly.

But Ciwt is notoriously private.  And someone just played some tech trick to get into her private email, so probably she's particularly prickly at the moment. In any event, please don't let this couple find out her birthday - even though she might be be missing out on personalized handmade card and a huge "Surprise!!" party.

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