Thursday, September 06, 2007

Little boxes made of ticky-tacky

Since the fiance and I moved from apartment life into house life, we've had quite a bit of adjusting to do. Not just with the upkeep of the place but also the social aspects. Neighbors at our apartment complex for various reasons were best avoided if at all possible, which usually was not possible. Still, people pretty much kept to themselves, whether it be in a "fuck you, I'm gonna just carry on like no one else lives here" kind of way or in a "let's respectively ignore each other and pretend that we have some privacy" kind of way. So now that we're in a neighborhood of mostly friendly people, I have to keep in mind that they most likely are being genuinely nice, and aren't out to steal our newspaper or poop in our washing machine as soon as we're not looking. (God, I hope not anyway.)

The funny thing about running into neighbors is that unless you know them really well, there is always somewhat of the same conversation taking place. Because really, what do you talk about with neighborhood acquaintances? The thing about these conversations is that they just don't seem to go much of anywhere.

"Have you met so and so that lives across the street?"
"No, not yet."
"Yeah, me neither."
Shrug.

Or

"I've seen you guys outside, you know, doing yard work and stuff."
"Oh, yep - I see you sometimes too."
"Oh yeah, we've waved."
"Yeah!"
Long pause.
"So... uh, have you met so and so over there?"

Or

"Oh, I remember the nice lady who used to live in your house."
"Mmm hmm."
"We were all surprised when she died."
"Yeah, that's really too ba-"
"From what I understand it was somewhat sudden."
"Leave me alone, I didn't do it."

Well, okay - you get the point. You talk about your lawns and stuff you want to do to your house, and hear the occasional tidbits of gossip about other neighbors, and it's really not all bad. It just takes some getting used to. As cynical as I am though, I am thankful for the small talk and little social interactions. We've even forged somewhat of a friendship with the couple next door, and try to make more of an effort to get to know the other surrounding neighbors. I know this sounds ridiculously simple, but for us it's quite an achievement to keep breaking away from our safe, anti-social comfort zone! (Can I throw in one more time that our last apartment really made us bitter and we stayed there about 3 years too long?)

What about you? Best/worst neighbor interactions to share?

2 comments:

KC said...

At our last house (before our new one), we had a neighbor who (how shall I say...?) was disturbed. He would stand at the edge of his property line and yell at me each morning as I left for work. Sometimes at night he would howl at the moon. Once, during the holiday season I saw him pat the head of a neighbors lighted deer statue. No kidding. I think he was talking to it. Luckily, the neighbors at our new place just wave if they see us, but never start conversations. Thank god.

iamnot said...

At my last appartment (before marriage etc...) my downstairs neighbor would sneak upstairs to hide at my place when her abusive ex-boyfriend would show up drunk and angry.
Such a treat it was to be mixed up in other's domestic violence issues.