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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Welcome to the Hermitage

Larry and I are not good neighbors. Don't get me wrong--we're not obnoxious, loud, or messy. I don't think that anyone minds us living next door or across the street. But we are not very good neighbors all the same. We're not mean or rude, but neither do we go out of our way to be very friendly. We often don't even know names of people living around us. We're not the big-barbecue types or even the hang-out-in-the-front-yard-and-chat-with-passersby types. We rarely give any useful or meaningful service simply because we aren't aware of our neighbors' needs.

There are several reasons for this. Maybe they are really excuses, but I'm calling them reasons. Larry's health ranks high on the list. He rarely has energy for the people we know already, or our own family for that matter, let alone energy to go meet more.

Another reason is all of the volunteer work that I do in relation to the kids. This gets me meeting people in other places, but not in my neighborhood. I'm often gone more than home. The time spent at home is therefore precious: full of getting homework and chores and cooking and cleaning done--or at least worked-on. Soccer season, which for our family is August-November, is the worst. Moving to a remote area hasn't helped with that, either. A 50 minute round-trip to the grocery store doesn't help at-home time.

Things were a little better in the previous town we lived in. There were very nice people and lots of children on our street, which was great, but my kids attended a school out of our boundaries within the same District. So there again, we were largely playing and volunteering with people elsewhere.

Our current neighborhood has been interesting. Ours are the only kids on our end of the 1-1/2 mile long street that we live on. Everyone else is retired or nearly retired. I met one neighbor when we first moved in, an electrician who came to switch our drier to work with the propane hook-up. They live two houses down, he and his wife. I saw him again once when he came to fix my dishwasher about a year later. Now their house is on the market. (Any friends or family interested in being our neighbors, let me know. I promise we'll be great neighbors if we KNOW you.)

Our next door neighbor we "met" when last 4th of July she drunkenly called my children all sorts of profanities from her back porch because she thought they were playing too loudly in our pool. We met her truely this fall when her live-in guy knocked down a rather large oak tree in our front yard with a run-away Ford Explorer and another fantastic round of explatives. She apologized for our last encounter, we chatted for a few minutes, and now rather than hate her with every fiber of my being, I just feel tremendous pitty for her. I haven't seen her since.

But that's it, that's all we have met in almost two years here. I will readily admit that we have not yet ventured out to introduce ourselves. I did have cookie plates all made up to go around this Christmas, but Larry got sick, and I can't bring myself to do that sort of thing without him along. The cookies got thrown out after a couple of weeks sitting on our window sill. Anyway, I always thought that introductions were the main repsonsibility of those already living in a place. Maybe I need to get my head out of Jane Austen novels and Andy Griffith Show re-runs long enough to check if that is still the case.

Ultimately, however, none of this means very much. Ultimately, the fact is that I married a hermit. He had even disclosed that information pre-nuptually, but I didn't believe him. He was always incredibly outgoing with my apartment and in other situations that I saw him in. When he wants to, he can still be very social. He just doesn't want to be very often. And I have found that it is much easier to become a hermit onesself than to socialize someone else.

7 fishy comments:

Jenn said...

Holy cow! Houses by you are even more expensive than they are here! (Not that I could talk Mark into an hour commute anyway, but I was just curious, LOL).

I know what you mean, though. I haven't known ANY of my neighbors anywhere since we left Bakersfield 6 years ago. Other parents from the kids' school? Sure! People from church that live 20 miles away? Heck yeah! But the people next door? No clue who they are. ROFL!!

seefilms said...

jenn you are supposed to comment on things contained within the blog... i don't remember a single thing said about how much their house cost. silly.

Going out of my way to meet people has been difficult. But I have made a concerted effort. A real concerted effort. Do I get far...no. But in my last house i threatened to call the cops on the people on one side of me... and actually did call the cops on the people on the other side of me.

But now, i know my next door neighbors. they are elderly and I love helping. I have a key to their pool and can use it whenever. the people opposite them just moved in...and we've talked and such and things.... and the people next to them i went and spoke with (because the mailman gave me their mail)... any excuse works! a friend dinged the car across the street... so i got to meet those neighbors (armenian mafia... i kid you not)... and i take walks in my neighborhood a lot... and say hi to everyone.

people are supposed to be nice to other people when they move in... but... you see, it's very likely that they know just as many people as you. So it's up to you to start.

You could even pray for missionary experiences for the people on your street.

and such.

I mean, if you never want to see or talk to them again... a great way MIGHT be to just knock on their door and give them a book of mormon and in vite them to church etc.

hi.

ps i bet your house is bigger and way more wonderful than mine... and i bet it cost way less. because i got ripped off.

Jenn said...

What?? ROFL! What's it to ya', what I say? :P The relevance is that she made a little joke about someone they know moving near them - I love their area, and it's not far from me, but, upon searching, it appears that the prices are even worse than the ones on homes closer to me, so it's not realistic. And the rest of the comment WAS even more directly related to the post. Sheesh! LOL!

Mina said...

I just feel that I need to state for the record that Jenny has no idea what I paid for my house. ;-)

kelly said...

Okay Mina, I love reading your posts and have to totally agree with you about neighbors these days. We have owned our house for 3 yrs (lived in it for about 1 1/2) and only know the name of one of my neighbors, which is a guy that moved in across the street while we were away and nicely enough brought our trash cans back off the street after leaving them out for over a week.

But I think the funniest parts of your posts are the comments from your other friends, whom I don't know, but make me giggle just the same. The bantering that goes back and forth is comical. And for someone that can never figure out acronyms, what does ROFL state for anyway?

Mina said...

Kelly, ROFL=rolling on floor laughing. It's an extreme LOL (laughing out loud). And don't feel bad, I think those may be the only little web abbreviations that I know, lol!

Jenn said...

Oops! Sorry! I spend, well, probably way too much time online and use those abbreviations like they're everyday English. Seriously. Many's the time I've been tempted to say "L. O. L." to someone rather than actually laughing. ;) Another fave is ROFLMBO (my butt off - if only that were possible).

OK, now we're REALLY off-topic. ;) Speaking of which, that's not THE Kelly, is it? From high school? As in "Kelly and JoEllen"?? LOL!