Question for you: do you know your neighbors’ names? I know the nicknames myself and my husband have given them. There’s the Darn Kids across the street that are probably 15-20 years older than us, but play their music out in the front yard super loud several nights a week. It is good music though…. There are the Friendly Mexicans. Are they really Mexican? I have no idea, but they have a Mexico flag on the front porch, and speak Spanish to each other…. There’s X’s Mom– G’s best friend’s mom. And then there’s the Yelling Family– they’re always yelling at each other. Beyond my observations, I have no idea who these people are.
This kind of community is exactly the antithesis of “community.” I know nothing about them and they know nothing about me.
I’ll tell you the best community event I’ve ever done was last year in my old neighborhood. We all sat out in our lawns handing out Halloween candy and chatted. I was glad I did that, because not 2 weeks later, I had a flat tire on my car and had to borrow an air compressor from Rob across the street.
Or what about a good old fashion block party? I went to my grandparents’ neighborhood block parties all the time as a kid. I looked forward to them, because not only were my doting grandparents there, all the neighborhood grandparents were there, so I got tons of hugs and “Aren’t you so cute?” compliments and lots of candies stuffed in my pockets that I wasn’t supposed to tell my parents about.
These kind of community events and connections are really important for our elderly or otherwise disabled populations. Those are the people that can run bring you a casserole when you’re too sick to cook for yourself. Or if you can’t wash your own clothes anymore, because it’s just too much for you, those are the folks that don’t mind tossing yours in with theirs. Many have family to do this. But many also do not.
I’ve had several elderly patients come to me with rhabdomyolysis, because they fell at home, couldn’t get up and they didn’t have anyone that missed them enough to come check on them for DAYS. Community would completely eliminate that possibility.
Homo sapiens were built for community. Let’s build some.