I liked this response to a blog post urging people to say hello to 5 strangers today. It’s good to be reminded that these things are cultural and regional, not ingrained. We can learn to be more community minded! I admit, though, that I was startled when someone in my apartment building in New York actually started talking to me in the elevator one day, first about shoe laces that won’t stay tied, then about the party he was going to, the friends he was hanging out with and didn’t want to leave…. But I could get used to having people talk to me, I think.
When we lived outside of Seattle for 10 years there were people on our street who never left the house, and when we would walk in the evenings wouldn’t say more than hi. When we moved back to the south we moved to a similar suburban neighborhood, and had people knocking within hours of the moving truck showing up, and kids running through our house “helping” to unpack. When our daughter was ill and in the hospital we had neighbors we only knew in passing mowing our yard, and bringing us meals. Sadly it took 9/11 in Seattle for people at my work to realize they didn’t know the people on the street they lived on for years. I always thought it sad, as a southerner, that it took such a tragedy to bring folks together, and it was eye-opening to see the difference when we moved back to the south 9 months later. I’ll take on your challenge, we need community.