Thursday, December 18, 2008


I confess, Hubby and I are the nosy neighbours. You know, those very special people who nose in to your lives and somehow know more about you than you do yourself. Neighbours like us are commemorated on screen, like this top twenty-five list of sitcom neighbours. Surely you remember them. There's Frank and Marie, Urkel, and who can forget Kramer?

I figure it's the unique combination of our strengths and neuroses that led us to where we are today. We both love the small town life, but live in the big city. I figured, if the mountain won't come to Mohamed, well.... So I added a few small town habits. We stop and talk to passers-by. I drop off cookies for newcomers, or to commemorate an everyday fence-burning, or maybe just for no reason at all. After all, I love to bake with my granddaughter but I cannot eat. Why not give the love away?

Hubby asks everyone what they are up to, aggressively interested in their day. He's not faking it. He really wants to know. After all, people and their lives are loads more interesting than television. He also has a sharp eye for makes and models of cars. We know, for instance, when our single neighbour has switched boyfriends, by noting the change in make and model of car in her visitor's spot. We figure when our young couple is visiting family out of town, when their spot is vacant for a few days.

Me, I want to extend our social network for our own sake. Since we are in a religiously mixed marriage, it's tough to find couples in our relative congregations who will socialize. So I constantly search out new prospects in our neighbourhood. These extended friendships also help to remind my hubby that regular people, religious or not, are just plain fine folk.

Building our own small town around us has it's perks. We've lent and borrowed sugar. Sympathetic neighbours have pooled their collective intelligence to help us break in to our own home. I've traded perrenials around the complex so I now have a blazing variety of flowers in my garden. We've helped our neighbours apply as foster parents and get their mortgage witnessed, and they've helped us get our passports.

Helping each other fill out those necessary applications have been a wake-up call for the young couples in our neighbourhood. In the busy-ness of building their lives and their little family, they suddenly realize their network of friends is very, very small. What does it say about our modern, isolating lifestyle that the best candidates to vouch for them are the....nosy neighbours?