Our neighbors

Typical late afternoon traffic in Washington, DC, April 2013

Typical late afternoon traffic in Washington, DC, April 2013

“While the spirit of neighborliness was important on the frontier because neighbors were so few, it is even more important now because our neighbors are so many.”  Lady Bird Johnson

Almost everyone I know would like to make the world a better place.  We long to do great things, to make a difference.  For some reason, though, it seems harder to aspire to the little graces, like letting people merge in traffic when we have the right of way.

Crowds of people can be so irritating, whether standing in lines, waiting on a restaurant table or service, or dealing with noise levels we find annoying.  Patience seems harder and harder to sustain.  We might want to bring peace to all the world, but don’t ask us to give up our seats on a packed bus!

A lot of us handle this by avoiding crowds and withdrawing into solitude, and this can be a healthy response if we don’t carry it too far.  But sooner or later, we will all want and need neighbors, whether we admit that or not.  And each of us bears the responsibility to be good neighbors to those whose paths we cross.

Other than the aforementioned traffic courtesies, what are some other ways we can be good neighbors?

One year ago today

Skillfully combined

This post was first published seven years ago today. It’s interesting to contemplate how the pandemic may have affected our ideas about crowds. Have you been relieved that crowds are now mostly outlawed? Or have you had an overdose of solitude? Will we be more, or less, neighborly whenever the pandemic is in the rear view mirror?

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

7 Comments

  1. Good morning, Julia!
    Some courtesies, such as holding a door for someone, seem less welcome than in past years. Around here, shoveling or snowblowing a neighbor’s driveway is always welcome.
    I’m wondering how you took that photo? Are you on an overpass?
    Blessings on your day!

    • Yes, I believe I was a pedestrian that day and I know it was in the district, but I’m not sure quite where. I’d have to go find the original photo and the date of it to figure it out. Re: opening doors, I still do it for others and always thank people when they do it for me. Almost always they do, if they are ahead of me. Especially if it’s a man. Perhaps in the “Old Dominion” courtesy still eclipses the fear of being out of style. If so, I say: Good!

    • Yes, I believe I was a pedestrian that day and I know it was in the district, but I’m not sure quite where. I’d have to go find the original photo and the date of it to figure it out. Re: opening doors, I still do it for others and always thank people when they do it for me. Almost always they do, if they are ahead of me. Especially if it’s a man. Perhaps in the “Old Dominion” courtesy still eclipses the fear of being out of style. If so, I say: Good!

      • Oh, how nice, that people are still hospitable in the south! Of course here in the north lately, we’re so bundled up and masked that it’s hard to know who is – or isn’t- opening a door for you!

        • Not everyone here is nice, but there are still plenty who are. I try to focus on the ones who are and tell myself that those who appear rude are just preoccupied, as most of us are nowadays…

          • Julia, that is so true. I’ve seen people “change” so much during this pandemic. Not always their best selves. I’m sure I’m not my best self now, either, in some ways, so I shouldn’t criticize.

            • Keep the faith, Susan, and keep praying to find those friends who are out there. I have many unexpected friends now, to whom I feel close in various ways. I’m in touch with most of them several times a week, and it’s amazing to think I did not know they existed on this earth six or eight months ago! Some in person, some online, all special. God’s mercies really are new every morning. I really believe that.

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