Neighbors, friends and other strangers

Why does it take someone coming to stay from out of the country to connect us with our neighbors?

You see, in my neighborhood there exists a kind of Berlin Wall-esque divide at the end of my street, somehow, although I see these people daily, see them playing basketball, hauling out their rubbish bins, waiting at the bus stop for their kids, I don’t cross the street to meet them.  Why?  I mean, it is not as though suddenly, along the mid-line of SB Street a new language has evolved!  I am pretty sure they are all still American, speak English or Spanish or even both, send their kids to school etc etc… although to be truthful, I have only met one of “them”… the rest could be absolutely bonkers!!
Anyway.. so my mum is here for ten days.. all the way from bonny  Scotland.. and when she decides to brave the wilds of our elementary school cafeteria at 10:30 for “lunch” with my Kindergardener (don’t even get me started on 10:30 lunch – that is a whole other rant for a whole other day!), she not only meets people, she meets my neighbor; the neighbor I have been considering stalking to find out if she, in fact, doesn’t speak English or Spanish or even both, doesn’t somehow have horns or is in some other fundamental way, not “one of us”…  In fact, this neighbor has become my newest friend and has gone out of her way to welcome a newbie to the ‘hood… but why did it take my mum ( did I mention that she doesn’t even live here?!!) to connect us?
Meeting new people is one of those things that shouldn’t be scary, and usually doesn’t scare me at all.. as one of my friends said today, I could talk to a tree and be happy!  But there is something about suburban America which totally wigs me out… it is like some houses and streets have invisible forcefields around them.. a sort of “invisible fence” repelling neighbors, small children, dogs and other “undesirables”.  I am blessed to live in a ‘burb where this doesn’t generally apply and have, as a consequence, made some great friendships with my neighbors… is this normal?  
Am I the only one who longs to be able to drop in whenever, and have people feel free to just pop over whenever they want and not feel as thought they are intruding, or worse, that my house is too much of a shambles to have guests… let me just say, for the record, that if that were my criteria, no-one would EVER come over… there is always at least one pile of laundry multiplying on the floor or a kitchen that has definitely seen better days having an even worse one!
So, on that note, good night dear friends, and please come over any time, for a cuppa, a coffee or just a good chin wag….. our door is always open (literally, it is broken and doesn’t even shut properly!)  

1 thought on “Neighbors, friends and other strangers

  1. I love this post, Ally! When I moved to Flo Mo, I came from a neighborhood (in VA) where we all gathered in yards and kept current on our lives. Not so here. That wall you write of is around the homes in my neighborhood, and evidently around my home as well! We come in and out, all of us, as if we are the only ones there, sometimes with a quick wave and brief “hello”. So sad. So lonely. Keep your door broken, I mean, open! It is much more like Christ would have us do! Happy Day to you, my friend!

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