Daily Prompt: Neighbors

via Daily Prompt: Neighbors

mr-rogers-header

Hmm … where do I even begin? I grew up in a city neighborhood where the typical household held anywhere from 4 to 12 children. How we were all conceived and raised in a three bedroom, one bathroom rowhome is still a mystery.

The best part of this upbringing was you were never without entertainment. There was always an active pulse ready to play.

We were never indoors. Never wore protective gear while riding our bikes. Never played organized sports, unless you count the games we organized via our imaginations, and we never had to worry about our parents hovering over us every second of the day. Ever!

We had an understanding with our parental units. Kids play outside until the street light comes on and then you scatter like roaches into your homes. Simplicity works.

Neighbors from my youth rocked! It didn’t matter if it was a sickness, new baby or death the neighbors organized meals, money, and services better than the Red Cross. No questions asked.

If you had a problem with a neighbor, you knocked on the door and dare I say expressed your concerns. Hey Bill are you hurt or just not keeping up with your lawn?

Life was simple.

54a9af2eebe436c1e332e0f14ed62a9d--fred-rogers-heroesToday I live in the same type of close-knit city dwelling and my oh my how things have changed. Now there’s a neighborhood FaceBook page. 

The kids on my block if they come outdoors on their downtime from being carted from one organized activity to the next, are usually huddled around a tablet playing a video game, watching YouTube videos, taking selfies or snap chatting. Missing out on their surroundings.

I do on occasion see kids riding their bikes, running, playing on swings and giggling with joy, but the parents ruin it with their “rules,”  and the parents who don’t participate in the rules are crucified. Stop running, slow down, stop screaming, not so high, get off the grass, get out of the street … nag, nag, nag.   

Now, as for the adults, I’m speechless at times. A lot of the time actually.

Instead of knocking on doors to settle concerns we now call the authorities. Oh, yes. The neighbors find it easier to call 911 on their fellow neighbor than to walk across the street, knock on the door and say “hey, could you move your car so I can’t get out.”  Having your neighbor ticketed is better how?

Oh, please for the love of God do not have a sickness or injury that prevents you from cutting your lawn, because there’s a number to call for that too.  The city will send a service over to destroy your lawn and give you a fine. The days of asking “do you need help with your lawn? I’ll send Bobby over to provide you with a hand are over. 

e10bd23bfcfe26c1fc87d70dd350aca4--the-way-you-are-i-like-youWorse than these two examples would be the dreaded neighborhood FaceBook page. Don’t get me wrong the page is great for recommendations on home improvement repairs, lost or found pets and keeping us in the loop on activities in the area, but unfortunately, it has also become a place where free reign bitching is allowed.

Recently there was a post regarding an older neighbor installing a bright lightbulb on their porch. The post read “what should I do? My neighbor installed a high wattage bulb, and I’m blinded when I come out of my door.” This is what I’m dealing with people. 

There were plenty of suggestions; however, none of them included knocking on the door to inquire about the bright light. This “man” was considering replacing the bulb himself.  I just don’t get it. 

As for me, well, I will continue to live by example, share responsibility and Enjoy the Ride!

 

7 responses

  1. I hear you. I grew up in a more rural setting but it was the same. On top of all that, if you did something stupid any adult was allowed to correct you. If you sassed they reported it back to your parents. We had a drama this past summer. There is a neighbor in our really nice development who is not a good neighbor (for more reasons than this one incident). They bought an above the ground pool and put it on the property line of another neighbor. They never used it. NEVER! The water turned green. They didn’t do anything over winter. This past spring it became a mosquito breeding community. All scummy. The neighbor who lived with 20′ of this pool (the owners were much farther away) talked to them. He explained the mosquito thing. The neighbor told him to buzz off so he called the township code guy. It’s illegal to put something like that on the property line so bad neighbor cut the lining and let the gummy water run into the neighbor’s property. The plastic laid there all summer before they removed it. The weird thing is these neighbors were quasi-friends before this started. This would have played out very differently when I was a kid. First off, every kid in town would be begging to use the pool and promising to clean it.

    1. That is insane, yet unfortunately I can see it happening. What the hell happened to common curtesy? Why is everything so personal? The only thing he did was confirmed his status as “neighborhood ass.”

  2. Yesterday the doorbell ran and it wasn’t someone promising to name a planet after me or asking for a donation. Two boys who live behind our fence. Bug-eyed. Their parents and two other kids were in a car on the street, the car running, back door open for a quick getaway I guess.

    The boys thought they’d kicked their ball into our yard. Let’s go see, I said. By the way did you trick-or-treat at our house? NO! they said emphatically. Subtext: it wasn’t us! Next year, you come to our house, I said. We don’t get enough trick-or-treaters. Want some candy? NO! Subtext: she’s a witch! Don’t touch anything!

    I sent them into the piles of leaves behind the bushes, and sure enough, a brand new soccer ball. Um, one boy said. There might be another one. Well go find it! I said. That’s ok they said scampered back to safety. One, however, skipped a little and waved over his shoulder. I must be getting old and lonely if this is what it takes to make my day. My husband said I should have asked which one is learning to play the trumpet, or if they are just torturing a cat.

    It’s amazing we made it to adulthood, given the number of fire alarms pulled, bike wrecks, long, solo walks, tree climbing, liquor cabinet raids, BB guns and lawn darts.

    1. Hahahaha! How dare you try to have a conversation.
      Yet here we are high functioning problem solvers with scars.

  3. We don’t even know our neighbors! In a neighborhood of approximately 30 houses, I’ve only even SEEN about 5 of them…and so infrequently that if I were to run into them at the grocery store instead of in their driveway I wouldn’t recognize them. This coming from someone who grew up on a cul-de-sac, where, 28 years ago, everyone played with everyone, people made casseroles for each other, and friendships were so well established that even though we’d left the neighborhood 25 years prior, our neighbors still came to my wedding.

    1. It’s a different world. It’s so nice that your old neighbors came to your wedding. They are the ones who shaped you into the woman you are today. When I hear that one of my childhood neighbors has passed away it’s like being stabbed.

  4. Growing up with the neighborhood kids was the best! And all of the parents close to my mom were referred to as Aunt or Uncle.. they would crack you up side the head if you got out of line and you parents weren’t around at the moment to do so. Now, I live on a street with over 50 homes. I never see any of the kids, like you said, sports or video games but when it comes to Halloween, there are hundreds upon hundreds of kids yet not one of them lives on this street! I don’t give out candy, I just do the old lights out, door closed. When I used to live down the street from you, I knew the name of almost every kid who came to the door. My 2 favorites were these little dudes Zac & Tommy 😀😀😀

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