What a Difference Neighbors Make
Yesterday, I had a couple of experiences that reminded me of how much good neighbors have a positive impact and how much poor neighbors can have a negative impact on life.
First, we had our quarterly meeting of the book club – up in San Francisco this time. Our host lives in a spectacular flat – on of two in the building. As in many urban settings, parking is at a premium in San Francisco, but this building was much better than most in that it has a garage with two parking spaces. The only problem is that the two spaces are accessed by one door, and the two cars fit head-to-tail. In other words, the two residents of the building need to coordinate with one another to get cars in and out of the garage.
Our host has a great relationship with her neighbor – they have each shared spare keys with the other and trust one another to safely move cars as needed. There is an example of a situation in which having a great relationship with a neighbor shifted what could have been a major pain into just another quaint aspect of living in a lively San Francisco flat.
The other experience came between 1:30 and 2:00 this morning. The college-age son of our next-door neighbors had a party yesterday to celebrate the end of the school year. In the middle of the afternoon, I could hear the low-key party in their yard when I was swimming my laps for the day. When we got home from book club, there were still quite a few cars parked in the street.
As we got ready for bed, I could not hear anything from next door. But at 1:30, I was jolted awake by loud voices in front of our house – a group of guys telling jokes and laughing. After ten or fifteen minutes, I heard slamming car doors and cars driving away. I went back to sleep.
Shortly thereafter, I woke up again – this time to the sound of women’s voices. They were loudly yelling “F**king finished with exams! Wooh!” Then, again, slamming car doors and cars driving away. And finally, I went back to sleep again.
Now, I am not saying that I have bad neighbors. In fact, I love my neighbors and have enjoyed living next to them for the 18 months that we have lived beside one another. This was the first time in that 18 months that I have heard any sounds from them – much less late-night sounds. But it made me realize what life would be like with inconsiderate neighbors, which made me value the ones that we have even more.