If you need that proverbial cup of sugar, do you go to the store or your neighbor’s house? Do you know your neighbors well enough to get help or give it when the occasion arises? Around here, when there’s a fire or an earthquake we suddenly start talking to our neighbors, trading news about what we’ve each heard on radio and TV. But what about a Sunday afternoon when you need an extra pair of hands to move the picnic table? Or maybe you need a little charcoal for the grill and you can smell burgers cooking next door. Would you feel comfortable asking to borrow a few briquets? If not, maybe now is the time to get to know the people around you. Not for an emergency, but for every day. I used to live on the edge of Escondido in the kind of neighborhood where everybody waved hi as they drove by, but even though we were a dead end street we never considered having our own private block party…I was as much to blame as everyone else, but we really missed a great opportunity to get to know one another, and maybe deal with some of the issues–barking dogs, yelling kids, go carts–that kept us apart.
When we moved into downtown Escondido I decided to change that, and it has made all the difference. Now I have friends right around the corner and we do for each other when we can and we don’t feel funny asking for help. We’ve had help moving furniture, finding a lost cat, cat sitting for said cat, wonderful conversation, great meals, lots of laughs, and the knowledge there are people nearby who care about how we are doing, and we feel the same about them.