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Hidey ho, neighbour!

December 8, 2013

good-neighbor

The folk who live next to us play a significant role in our lives.  They watch our pets when we’re away, smile and wave at us on sunny weekend mornings, and occasionally ask us politely to cut our lawn when it’s getting way out of control.  However having neighbours puts us in an interesting position, as we too become that friendly force to them as they are to us.  And sometimes it may be a little difficult to measure just how good a neighbour you are – that is, until the snow falls.

Driving home from a freezing game of spongee, I pulled into my dead ended back lane and noticed that the city had finally plowed the knee deep river of snow.  And just as every year, the grader had pushed the pile to the very end of the road into a huge pile, leaving a foot and a half ridge of solid packed snow on either side of the back lane blocking everyones approach.  This is normal.  And every winter I’m thankful I have an SUV complete with all wheel drive to bulldoze through that ridge and up onto my parking pad.  Although pulling up to the back of my house, I did notice something different about snowy roadblock – it had been removed via snowblower across 4 lots, stopping just before mine.

I wondered who the local hero was who’s kind enough to help himself out and 3 other households whilst determining me unworthy of such generosity.  Then I got to thinking…am I a nice neighbour?  What would qualify me to receive such kind treatment, and do they even see me as someone nice enough to return such a favour?  I haven’t exactly been in the position, however if asked for a cup of sugar I’m sure I’d comply with minimal eye rolling.  Maybe they don’t ask because they somehow know I don’t have any sugar.  I’m assuming they realize I’m a bachelor, based not only on watching me come and go always alone, but also with general upkeep on my yard.  Men with wives have flowers, gardens, maybe kids occasionally playing outside.  I normally have overgrown grass, a rusted out shed and an old chair out back that never made it to the dump.  All I’m missing is half a car and I’d qualify for the redneck of the year award.

I remember growing up how tight knit our little community of neighbours were.  And that’s exactly what we were – a community.  Granted we did live on a cul-de-sac street, and with no throughway traffic everyone on the block were cornered into getting to know one another.  Some consider being virtually forced into a neighbourly friendship a blessing, but really no other metaphor works better than calling it what it is – social rape.  However I digress.

Viewing how things were back then, I just can’t help but notice that in todays society people are generally keeping to themselves.  At least that’s the way it works in my neck of the woods.  I’ve lived in this house for the past 5 years, and with all the people I pass on a daily basis I only talk to the elderly couple directly beside me, and the young couple directly behind me.  Although with the young couple living behind me we didn’t really have a choice.  I hit their car once bouncing over said snow-ridge and we had to exchange information.  We’re friends now.  We share a common distaste for snow and a liking for beer.

Maybe I’m partly to blame.  I have never shovelled my own porch, let alone offer to help with someones walkways.  Even the pizza delivery guy frowns at me when I’m chuckling at his snow-filled shoes he obtained walking up my “sidewalk”.  I suppose I could offer more of a helping hand to cars who are stuck in snowbanks blocking me from getting to work, as opposed to leaning on the horn with that familiar vein bulging from my forehead.  Even putting a simple bag on my lawnmower as opposed to blowing grass clippings directly into my neighbours’ tomato garden would probably aid in the sparking of a potential friendship.  I could do all of these things…but then again, whats a little snow ridge?  Again, I’m so glad I own an SUV with all wheel drive.

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