Monday, August 27, 2007

New Neighbors

My building is a complex mini-civilization. There are always people coming and going, moving in and out, carrying large loads, and large groups moving from place to place.

I’ve written in this blog about the crazy psycho neighbor I have down the hall, and the pot smoking junkies on the other side of the hall.

Now I’ve got a couple of new neighbors around me. A lady moved in directly across from me a couple of weeks ago, and a man, his son and girlfriend have moved right next to me.

I’ve met them all in passing in the hallways. They seem nice and relatively normal – though I suppose I’ll learn more as time goes on.

It is interesting getting new neighbors, as you really never quite know what to expect. Are they going to be loud and bothersome? Are they going to be Peeping Toms? Will they be quite and keep to themselves?

I like to be relatively quiet and generally keep to myself. I will say hi to people I recognize in the halls, and even chat with others in the elevators or in the hallways.

But when it comes to hanging out or other forms of socializing with the neighbors, I keep a low profile. I like to be a bit anonymous – especially as you really don’t know how sane or insane those are around you.

There are probably at least 800 people calling this building home. So there are bound to be the occasional nuts.

But when someone new does move in, I always wonder what the proper etiquette is. Years ago – when our parents were growing up – it wouldn’t be uncommon for them to send a gift basket to a new neighbor with a card. Some might even pay them a visit and introduce themselves.

Way back when, times were much different. There wasn’t as much crime, poverty and social angst in the world. So it was safer and easier to trust people.

These days, with so much immigration from war-torn countries, third-world countries and generally with a more “me” and “I” attitude in society than a “we” attitude, the world has become less safe.

So sending a gift basket might be a nice idea, but you really don’t know if you’re making nice-nice with some crazy psycho killer hell bent on causing chaos.

That’s really too bad, because it would be nice to be able to get to know one’s neighbors. When I was a kid growing up, we knew all our neighbors – we even played with the other kids in the street.

If I had kids, I don’t know if I’d let them out with the neighbors kids – you don’t get to know your neighbors like you used too.

Most kids these days probably don’t play outside anymore anyways – they come home and hop onto the Internet.

But then again, there are just as many crazy people online as there are in our own backyards.

Maybe I’ll test the sanity of my new neighbors by going over and seeing if I can borrow a cup of sugar . . . that’s how people often started to get to know their neighbors in the past. But these days, I’d probably be seen as a nutbar who just ran out of sugar.

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