Meet Your Neighbours
How many of your neighbours do you know? It’s easy to be friendly with the people who are similar to us and to be neighbourly with those who share our values. But some of our neighbours we might think we don’t want to be acquainted with, such as the man who shouts obscenities from his balcony into the alley below, the man who dumps garbage next to the bin, and the people who blast their music from the afternoon to the wee hours.
I have to plead guilty – I, too, have stayed away from being friendly with those sorts of neighbours. But I have to admit that I’m ashamed of having rejected people as a result our different values. The man whose drunken slurs were shouted also came to shovel my walk. The people who played music day and night offered to help when my car battery was dead.
So, should I just acknowledge that different people have different standards and that I can’t expect all others to live by mine? Should I accept the positive traits of people and forgive the things they do that I find distasteful? I don’t think that I’ve quite manage to evolve to that level yet but maybe one day.
In the meantime, I will boast and say that there are some things in the department of neighbourliness that I’ve done right. When I moved into the middle of three houses in a row, I stared to shovel both of my neighbours’ walks when I got out first and now we all do each other’s walks in winter and mow each other’s boulevard in summer.
I know many of my neighbours, and that fosters a sense of safety and security that I value, as well as a sense of belonging. So, while I challenge myself to be more understanding of some of my neighbours’ failings and irritating habits, I challenge you to meet as many of your neighbours as you can.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League. The BSCL Update will continue in a future issue.