“Gone are the days when a trip to the grocery store meant stopping by your neighbor’s house to see if they needed a gallon of milk or an errand run while they tended to a new baby. Front porches are no longer used as an opportunity to invite friends up for an evening chat and glass of lemonade. And children no longer linger in yards littered with games, unsupervised play, and laughter.”
uh, not totally gone since they just described my neighborhood that I so fondly call the fishbowl. It turns out that now they are designing housing areas to mimic the one I live in… that’s about 90 years old and on a military installation. You know, the one I complain about on this blog?
Now granted, we don’t meet all of the things they describe in the article… we don’t have a community center where we eat communal meals. Although we do share meals an awful lot. We don’t have a no cars allowed policy on our street. We just yell at cars driving too fast because everyone who lives here knows the kids play and ride bikes every afternoon. And let’s just say that the number of people on my street that would fit the definition of hippie are limited to well, me. I do have a subscription to Mothering magazine after all. But really, that’s a stretch.
It just surprised me how much the article summed up my feelings. On good days, I really like certain aspects of living this way. I know that the dutchkid and I will dearly miss the long leisurely afternoons of playing outside with the other kids. But sometimes it really drives me nuts not to just do my own thing. And to not have some space. I was talking with one of my neighbors over the weekend, and she is feeling absolutely smothered by someone who doesn’t observe the same boundaries as the rest of us… if you’re unlucky enough to live practically on top of a person you don’t get along with, it can be misery.
They do talk about some of the cons at the end of the article… “Is it intrusive to you when a neighbor comes by for a few eggs or with an invitation to stop by for a glass of wine?” Why YES, sometimes it is. “If you value exclusive privacy, you might want to stick to traditional living.”
I should write them a cautionary tale, since I for one will be glad to sink back into suburban anonymity when we move. But it did make me realize that living in a commune hasn’t been all bad.