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being neighborly
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Author:  chas [ Mon Mar 30, 2020 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  being neighborly

I was talking to a friend a few days ago. I mentioned in passing that I'd talked to my elderly neighbor to see if she needed anything before I went to the grocery store. This friend said how nice that was. But she went on and on and on, probably gushing for two or three minutes about it. I also mentioned it to my siblings, none of whom reacted. My friend obviously thought I was going above and beyond, and it wouldn't have occurred to her to make that offer, but it wouldn't have occurred to me NOT to make the offer.

I thought her reaction odd, but then I thought of a few differences between her and me. She's a germaphobe. She won't go shopping, so that might make her think it heroic for someone to shop at all, therefore heroic to shop for a neighbor. The other is that, while we both live in the 'burbs, she grew up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, while I grew up in a small town in New England. All of my sibs are in small towns in New England now, too.

What do y'all think? Are you shopping once or twice a week, and if you had old/infirm neighbors, would you shop for them? BTW, my neighbor is an extravert, and she hasn't taken me up on the shopping, as she wants to get out. Her husband has cancer, and I really worry that she might get a low exposure and not get sick herself, but possibly bring it back to him.

Author:  benhall.1 [ Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: being neighborly

Since this crisis and the lockdown in the UK, several of us in our road have set up a WhatsApp group. Anyone who is going shopping is posting on the group, and offering to do shopping for anyone. In addition, there is an elderly and infirm couple just down the road, who really can't go anywhere, and who have essentially no technology, so aren't on the WhatsApp group, and I have made several shopping trips for them - just for small stuff, like milk, newspaper etc, although the shop has now stopped selling newspapers, because they want to discourage people from going there(!).

All of this seems like normal, human behaviour to me.

Author:  fatmac [ Tue Mar 31, 2020 2:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: being neighborly

I think it's just being neighbourly, like we used to do when I was young, when we knew someone might need a bit of help.

Author:  Nanohedron [ Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: being neighborly

chas wrote:
I was talking to a friend a few days ago. I mentioned in passing that I'd talked to my elderly neighbor to see if she needed anything before I went to the grocery store. This friend said how nice that was. But she went on and on and on, probably gushing for two or three minutes about it. I also mentioned it to my siblings, none of whom reacted. My friend obviously thought I was going above and beyond, and it wouldn't have occurred to her to make that offer, but it wouldn't have occurred to me NOT to make the offer.

I thought her reaction odd ...

Helping, or just offering to help, a neighbor in need may be commendable, but to me it's not all that extraordinary; if you can, you do. I agree that civic-mindedness is more likely in neighborly locales (you find such environments in big city neighborhoods too), and that ethic is likely to be carried with you however your environment changes. In my general experience suburban neighborliness tends to be more casual than about solidarity. But maybe it was her germophobia, given the times; I'm sure it's in high gear right now, and her effusive laudations of your willingness to help someone suggest this. Sure there's risk, but better to do some good where needed than leave the vulnerable to sink or swim while you look on and do nothing. I can't waste my life living in fear like that; that's what soap and sanitizers are for, and you hope for the best. We've already seen that there are no guarantees of anything no matter what one does, so you might as well help out; you might need that help in turn.

Author:  chas [ Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: being neighborly

Nanohedron wrote:
Helping, or just offering to help, a neighbor in need may be commendable, but to me it's not all that extraordinary; if you can, you do. I agree that civic-mindedness is more likely in neighborly locales (you find such environments in big city neighborhoods too), and that ethic is likely to be carried with you however your environment changes. In my general experience suburban neighborliness tends to be more casual than about solidarity. . .


I agree with all the y'all have said.

wrt the bolded: Yes, that's absolutely the case. One of the things I've never really adjusted to moving from New England is that, at least in Virginia and Maryland, there are very few incorporated towns. In New England, everything is built on towns rather than counties. So where I live now, there are neighborhoods to some extent, but the social circle is largely built around schools. We tried school for two years, but that led to home schooling, so we never got going with the school community thing. We got involved with the homeschool community, but they're really scattered.

I'm not sure we'll be able to retire to New England, but wherever we go, the smallest division won't be a million people. I love a lot of the people around here, but I can't wait to get away. I'm actually enjoying the isolation, so damn many people around here.

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