Sunday, June 14, 2009

Having (and Being) Good Neighbors

It's a quid pro quo situation. Neighborly relations are developed over time by rational people interested in the welfare of others and community peace. You can't expect neighborly behavior from others if you aren't willing to be neighborly yourself. Not over the long term, at least. We had that type of relationship in spades with our neighbors back in Towson. We looked out for each other and tried, as best we could, to be considerate. Living in row homes, you need to be extra alert since you and your neighbors share walls.

There are a lot of rentals where we live now. In fact the two houses to our left and the one (at least) to our right are rentals, and the two left-hand properties tend to rent to college kids. Not good neighbors. Last night our directly adjacent, and newly moved-in neighbors threw a huge party with loud music, screaming, chanting, and probably fornicating with ancient evil entities from a reality parallel to, but not "of" our reality. Having just shed the previous tenants who were really big partiers, we were disappointed.

When this new batch of kids was moving in Kate had been neighborly to them, lending them hammers and screwdrivers and a drill. And with this party we were willing to give them slack. If it was just a house-warming party, not to be followed by others every other week, no sweat. We'll see. Once you don't have good neighbors, you really realize what a positive thing it is.

So try not to take good neighbors for granted, if you've got them. Be friendly and watch out for each other. An amiable, neighborly environment is more likely to keep the sorts of neighbors you want, so try and establish relationships with more distant neighbors you don't already know. For our part, we're going to start going to neighborhood association meetings. Try and get to know the good neighbors we have but haven't met yet. If we all work together we can hopefully "snuff up" the less "exemplary" members of our community. We like where we just needs a few modifications.

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