So, for this last week’s Everyday Hero post, I chose the category of Favorite Neighbor. Thinking, of course, that if you guys had multiple favorite neighbors, it would be no trouble to tag each one individually so that none of your neighbors would be sad at not being chosen as “the favorite”.

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I love (most of) my neighbors.

I know that my situation may be slightly different than most, because I have friends that live in my apartment building, and friends in the building next door.

But I have also made friends with other people that live in my building, as well as the people in the house next door and a few doors down. It took awhile (mainly because I am terrible with names), but I know their names. When we run into each other, the “Hey, how are you doing?” can easily turn into a half hour long conversation, particularly if we have a lot to catch up on.

It did not occur to me until after the post was published that perhaps not everyone is on a first name basis with their neighbor.

If you live out in the middle of practically nowhere, this is understandable.

If you live in town, chances are that you can see into your neighbor’s yard, if not right into their house. (True story: in one of the houses I lived in previously, we had a huge picture window in the kitchen through which we could see into our neighbor’s living room. Due to the size of their TV screen, you could see what they were watching. I vicariously watched many episodes of ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Dateline’ on Sally’s TV while making dinner.)

Maybe you have mean neighbors and they don’t deserve a nomination for a free beverage. Also completely understandable.

But I think that mainly, in this world of social media that is all about sharing pictures of our food and amassing as many “likes” as we possibly can, most people are simply unaware of the people that live right next to them.

The misguided belief in the anonymity of social media seems to have emboldened more mean people. Hop on any conversation thread that is even remotely political, and it’s enough to make you believe that only terrible humans exist in the world. Most will say things online that they would only think of saying in public to someone’s actual face.

The disconnect from actual neighborhood human interaction is common these days.

In his article for Quartz, titled ‘Americans Don’t Know Their Neighbors Anymore – and That’s Bad For the Future of Democracy’, Joshua Foust writes “Pew surveys over the last decade suggest that every year Americans know less and less about their neighbors—a large change from 30 years ago, when most people in most communities at least knew the names of those who lived nearby. Civility was as much an institution in America as any club or religious group.”

What do you think?

Are you well acquainted with your neighbors? Do you know them well enough that you can both borrow things from each other and help out in the event of an emergency?

If not, maybe it’s time for introductions to be made.

Perhaps over a cup of coffee…

-Jessica, your Media Specialist

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