Living in a neighborhood is so much different than living in an apartment complex. In an apartment complex your neighbors are up close and personal. You can hear the arguments, the vacuuming and sometimes you hear noises you would rather not interpret. In a neighborhood of single-family homes the atmosphere is different.
There are two driveways between my house and the neighbor to our left and two fences between us and the neighbors to our right.
Our right-hand neighbors have chickens. Every morning I wake to the sounds of their clucking. It's quite pleasant. These neighbors also have amazing green thumbs. Our backyards share a fence, though part of it has privacy slats. Through the slats I can see their gorgeous trees and flowering shrubbery. They have raised beds where vegetable plants are starting to grow and it looks very inviting. I don't know my right-hand neighbors, we have never met, but I'm sure they would like me. Problem is, I don't really care to know.
I sound like such an elitist. I like the idea of neighbors more than I actually like neighbors. I like that I can have neighbors but I don't need to know all of their business. I like that I can look out my window and see my left-hand neighbor's son juggling in their front yard or drawing cool chalk paintings on the sidewalk. I don't need to speak with them, I just enjoy observing.
I realize that it would come in handy to know my neighbors, like when I need to borrow a cup of sugar or when there is smoke coming from my house and I am not home. I am sure those relationships would come in handy. We know one family in our neighborhood — mainly because their son and ours are best friends. They are nice people. They let us borrow their lawn mower and they sit and talk to us about grown-up stuff. They have a nice dog and two cats. They live three houses down, which leaves plenty of space between us.
Our neighbors across the street have a sign on their back gate that says, "Hippies Use Backdoor." It makes me laugh and I think I could have a nice conversation with them, but will I? Probably not, unless they come to my house and seek me out. Maybe we are just loners, content with our art and writing with no need for friendly neighborhood relationships. I'm not sure where this comes from, but now I'm thinking we are kind of weird and maybe I should take all my neighbors cookies.