leading me to almost always suddenly remember “arrgh! the prawn heads!” and fang it out to the bin before the garbos get to my driveway, then I don’t think my neighbour’s bins would hardly ever get emptied.
I race out, glance across and most weeks see that his bins aren’t waiting at the curb, so I cross the road and put them out. I don’t think he realises that I’m his garbage care fairy, because I haven’t mentioned it. He’s a nice young man working shifts, walking his dogs and renovating his house (so no computer at the moment to read this blog), so I don’t mind making sure that his garbage gets out when he’s forgotten because he’s on the night shift (just as well he keeps them only a few metres from his front gate).
It’s just the neighbourly thing to do. I’m sure that most of us have little things that we do for our neighbours without expecting thanks or even acknowledgement, just because it makes the neighbourhood more pleasant all round. Or am I spoilt? My street’s kinda special, but is such helpful neighbourliness becoming unusual?
Here in the Cul de sac of Doom we tend to be a bit more chatty than most inner city streets, because the lack of through traffic means we’re very aware of each others’ comings and goings, which tends to generate conversations. When you regularly talk to your neighbours, you tend to notice if there’s some little problem at their house while they’re out or sleeping, and if you can do something about it with only a few moments’ effort, then why on earth wouldn’t you?
One of my neighbours saw a package left very obviously on our doormat one time, so he came in, picked it up and found a less conspicuous place to leave it, then rang us when he saw that we were home to check that we hadn’t overlooked it. Just a little bit of thoughtfulness and care, very typical of most people who’ve lived in our street for a while. It’s very much one of the reasons that we’ve not moved for nearly 20 years – we’d miss the neighbours. This isn’t to say that we live in each other’s pockets (hey, I skew severely toward curmudgeonly hermit), just that we share a bond of memory and goodwill that truly does mean something. I can’t think that there’d be too many neighbourhoods where half the households would turn out at 10pm with torches to look for a sick cat that was overdue for medication.
That said, I’m equally sure that we’re not the only friendly neighbourhood left in the urban sprawl. I do however note that the few other streets I’ve visited which seem to have a similar neighbourliness going on are also cul de sacs, so I wonder whether it’s simply the wish to avoid noise and exhaust fumes pollution which drives people living elsewhere inside so that they simply hardly ever see their neighbours.
Thoughts, dear readers? Are you a mysterious neighbourhood care fairy now and then? Are you helped out by a mysterious neighbourhood care fairy once in a while? Or is your neighbourhood afflicted by more destructive forms of neighbourly interaction? Or simply indifference? What trends do you see from your place?
Image Source: Paul Keller