I was reading this Canadian article about how the nature of neighbors have changed. Because, listening to NPR on the way to and from work is apparently not enough of a snob move—I now read news from Canada too. And from it I learned three things:
1) Canadians are still more twilight-zoney than Americans
Seriously. They actually speak to the strangers who live on their street. When I was in Montréal this year, I hopped on the bus with my Francophonic friend turned impromptu tour guide from Quebec City who had absolutely no problem asking the bus driver and random people on the street for directions while I fought to get Google Maps to work on my phone (it didn't) and thief-block my wallet (no one wanted it. In fact, I could have flaunted it flirtatious-pen-drop style and I'm pretty sure someone would have tapped me on the shoulder and placed it squarely in my hand). They probably know most of their neighbors' names, and birthdays, and favorite aperitifs.
2) You have to pay a kindergarten teacher in China to hug your kids
"...Whut?" Yeah. That's a little frightening. I mean, speaks volumes to the role money plays in relationships. (Start them out young, right?) Or maybe this is a cold, frightening look at what the profession of teaching is turning into.
3) Attitude is a greater factor in neighborhood choice than household income
Funny; I was listening to NPR this summer(...) and there was this article demonstrating that neighborhoods with income disparity are actually more beneficial to lower income households than neighborhoods that are across the board poor. To the point where lower income citizens are working longer hours or two different jobs to stay in these mixed neighborhoods to provide a better community for their family. But attitude as a factor is a different ballgame. And in fact, the example the articled used, a Democrat moving to a Republican neighborhood or vice versa, is a part of the reason why I moved to Boston.
But I still don't know my neighbors. And hell, one of them is my landlord.
I live on a quiet side street about the length of two blocks, lined with trees and embedded with houses from the turn of the century (last century; the dryer in our basement rattles lose the shower rod in our bathroom). It's quaint, and admittedly, picturesque. But I know more about my neighbors through the rare summer shouting match, when the windows are open and the weight of cohabitation takes its toll. On one side is a motorcycle enthusiast father up in age, sick of living with his mother-in-law, and on the other a family from...Canada, whose two young children talk a blue streak when they're not chalking up the sidewalk. But I don't know any of their names, or have sat down to dinner with any of them. And I've been living here for longer than a year.
I'm not a good neighbor.
(Thank God I'm not Canadian or maybe they'd deport me for not being nice enough.)