Tag Archives: Neighbor

Fences Make Good Neighbors

7 Jul

I was walking the baby up and down the block the other evening, as one is wont to do with a colicky, easily unsatisfied baby, and I spent some time talking with my next door neighbor.

Let me set up a bit of background here: Their pool is less than, oh…50? yards from our bathroom window. They are CLOSE. (And have I mentioned lately how not used to this suburban living I am?) Thankfully, that short distance between the pool and the loo is filled with bushes. Two story tall bushes. And these bushes wrap all the way around the left side of their property. So they are on our right, but hidden by bushes. The right side of their property, where their house is, is open: no bushes.

So this lady and I were talking about all the new babies in the neighborhood. Apparently there are 6 month old twins across the street from her, a one month old, and another newborn elsewhere in that vicinity. I told her about the couples on “our side” that have kids. So we live right next to each other. CLOSE to each other too. But we are probably the farthest apart…we don’t know each other at all really, and yet we each know the surrounding houses on our respective “sides.” she even mentioned that she doesn’t know anyone to the left of her bushes. So within this one block community, there are two groups: to the right of the bushes, and to the left.

Don’t get me wrong. I like those bushes. I LOVE those bushes. I want more of those bushes. I grew up in the country, and I could walk a half mile down my road and see maybe 2 houses? It was fantastic. I am not at all accustomed to the reach-out-your-window-for-a-cup-of-sugar spacing of the Detroit Suburban plots.

SO this isn’t about the bushes. It is about how the physical nature of something so clearly and subconsciously dictates our behavior, if we let it. I wonder if the nature of our respective neighborhood “cliques” would change if the bushes were chest high, instead of house-high.

What about your neighborhood? are there any barriers, natural or man made, that determine the behavior of your community?


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