This post is about something that made me sad the other day. I originally wrote it on one of my other blogs, but I’m attempting to consolidate my content. So I’m moving it over here.
An old college friend wrote a post on Facebook yesterday asking if he was a jerk because he reported two of his neighbors for property issues. One was a home in desperate need of painting, “The ugliest house on the block.” The other was an overgrown lawn. My first thought was that no, he’s not a jerk because I know him, but my second thought was that he shouldn’t have immediately reported him to the city.
What has happened to community and neighbors being good neighbors?
People are so concerned with property values. What about the value of their neighbor? What about that person’s life, that person’s daily struggles?
What if the person with the ugly house cannot afford to paint it? Home ownership is freaking expensive. We can’t afford to do every home improvement project we would like to. Our home needs painted. I hope to do it next year. What if this person is on a fixed income and just CAN’T. How is reporting him going to help?
What about the overgrown lawn? There have been times that our lawn has been overgrown for a short time period. Sometimes it will rain and rain (like it has been around here lately) and the only free time to mow is ruined by rain. There have been times that my husband has planned to mow and lo and behold, the lawnmower breaks. He’s not a handy guy, so that will mean taking the mower into a shop. It may be there for a few days. Why can’t this friend of mine ask the guy if he’d like to borrow his lawnmower?
A couple years ago our garage door broke. We were in the process of trying to find someone to fix it, but it was broken for probably month. For that short time period, we could not open it. In hindsight, I made a mistake. I was sitting the trash right in front of the garage door instead of in the garage. I probably did that for a few weeks, less than a month. It wasn’t a constant thing. Someone called the city. I received a threatening letter from the city in the mail. Thankfully, we were in the process of taking care of the garage door. When I called the city, the woman I spoke with was very kind and understanding. But my thoughts were, why didn’t that neighbor contact me first? It’s not like it was like that all the time? But no, they didn’t do that.
I often hear similar stories. It makes me sad. Gone are the days where neighbors help each other. Gone are the days where a neighborhood might rally around that unpainted house. Gone are the days when people sit in their front yards and say hello to each other. Instead everyone is in the back with their privacy fences not knowing one neighbor from the next. I feel like it is a decay in society when neighbors no longer act like neighbors should.
I’m sure there are some neighborhoods out there that do still treat each other neighborly. But I think it is different than it used to be. I’m nostalgic for the way things used to be.