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The Loneliness of the Anonymous Neighbor

The last Saturday morning in August, my wife noticed that some of our neighbors had a moving truck outside their home. After watching with the kids for a minute or two, she acknowledged that she had never seen the people before. I recognized the man, though I had never spoken to him—he seemed to purposefully avoid eye contact. Though not technically next door, all that separated our townhouses was about 30 feet that included some lawn, a half dozen bushes, and a couple of trees.

The experience reminded me that I never want to be the anonymous neighbor next door whom nobody even realizes is gone.

Perhaps the unknown neighbor is a more common problem in Northern Virginia, where I live. Many residents serve in the military and are only here for a few years before another PCS (permanent change of station). Many others are in the intelligence community and intentionally avoid getting to know people so they don’t have to talk about their work. My wife and I have tried our best to acquaint ourselves with the folks in our neighborhood, which has been made easier by our three small children who always want to be outside.

Even so, I’ve still been rebuffed when I reach out to my neighbors, including by a woman who used to live next door. Once when I was outside stretching after a run, she walked by with her dog. I made eye contact and introduced myself. She nervously said “hello” and moved toward her front door. I told her that I’d also seen someone I assumed to be her husband coming and going from her house. She smirked and remarked, “Oh, he’s not my husband.” Then she walked away, end of conversation. We never spoke again.

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Americans are increasingly unfamiliar with their neighbors. In 2010, Pew found that [1] only 46 percent of its respondents talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues. Presumably a significant portion of those not talking to neighbors about community issues are also not talking to neighbors about anything else. Additional results from that survey support that conclusion: even fewer people discussed community issues over the telephone or via email, social media, or texting. Keep in mind that “community issues” is like the weather—it’s one of the safest conversation topics available.

Many sociologists have argued that increasing anonymity in American society is tied to decreasing trust. According to one recent survey, only three in 10 Americans trust others [2]. That same anonymity is also likely responsible for increased rates of loneliness. Despite heightened digital connectivity via social media, loneliness rates have doubled since the 1980s, from 20 percent to 40 percent. I’d be willing to bet a lot of those lonely people are the ones who don’t have any relationship with those living in their neighborhoods (or anywhere else, for that matter!).

There are other negative consequences of this social isolation. Eileen Avery [3], a sociologist at the University of Missouri, discovered in one study that people who perceive their neighbors as trustworthy also rate their own health as better than those who don’t. Similar studies indicate that those who say they are part of a community have lower risks of strokes and heart attacks. Some pundits [4] have even posited that not knowing our neighbors is bad for democracy.

In my own neighborhood, we’ve certainly witnessed the benefits of being connected to those around us. As I recounted in a recent TAC article [5], we were able to help one woman locked out on her second-floor deck right before a summer thunderstorm would have made her life miserable. Our neighbors on one side, a lovely retired couple, routinely babysit our kids—for free, no less. Recently when the A/C in our house stopped functioning properly, we borrowed fans from several neighbors until we could get a repairman to come out. We also water each other’s plants and keep an eye on each other’s houses when we go out of town.

What I’ve described thus far is being a good neighbor—but I’d argue that simply being a neighbor, a known entity, is far better than being anonymous. For example, one house about three doors down was until recently inhabited by a number of single, blue-collar guys who did home maintenance and construction. They drove big trucks, constantly smoked cigarettes outside their home, and had what seemed to be different women leaving the house on many Saturday mornings. I honestly don’t know how many people actually lived there. They didn’t exactly fit on our street, populated mostly by young families and retirees. But they never caused trouble and we had pleasant interactions with them. Indeed, a few of the guys in that house won the contract to do maintenance for all the homes in our community. I’ll miss them.

Anonymity is in some senses easier—we risk less by not developing relationships that could scuttle and make things awkward for both parties. Nobody wants to walk by a house inhabited by people they used to know and don’t get along with anymore. Yet even in such an instance there always remains the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation, among the most important and beautiful of human actions.

Most who prefer to keep their distance from those in their communities are probably law-abiding citizens and good people, though criminal behavior is far more likely when neighbors are not known. We have all cringed at stories like the Turpins of Riverside County, California [6], who kept their 13 children chained up and malnourished for years. Their general anonymity allowed that torment to continue unabated. We should remember that stories like that of the Turpins happen more often we imagine [7].

As our neighbors packed their boxes into the moving truck outside their home on that Saturday in August, I stood for a moment with my eldest daughter to watch. The man (husband? brother?) was putting some things into his car. He looked like a perfectly normal guy. Yet I didn’t know his name, where he had come from, or where he was going. I doubt anyone else in my community knew them either—they were rarely seen outside. They will scarcely be remembered, and certainly not missed. The anonymous neighbor, like so many other tokens of our time—the teenager whose closest friends are virtual, the single adult male spewing vitriol on the internet—is something we must resist if we want to live fully human lives. It may sound cliché, but neighborliness is one of the most American of qualities.

Casey Chalk is a student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College. He covers religion and other issues for TAC.

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "The Loneliness of the Anonymous Neighbor"

#1 Comment By Sadie Slays On September 12, 2018 @ 10:46 pm

You know the programming is complete when even conservatives use the term “adult male” instead of the far simpler and more appropriate word “man.”

#2 Comment By Kjm On September 13, 2018 @ 1:45 am

I’ve come to the conclusion that people suck. So I don’t bother getting to know people anymore.

#3 Comment By marylandic On September 13, 2018 @ 4:20 am

There are so many immigrants now. And it’s a problem. If you don’t even have basic Americanness in common there’s less basis for acquaintance and friendship. This was especially noticeable after university. The only friends who survived graduation were native born Americans. (My school had a huge number of foreign students. Gone with the wind. Of course they took their “diversity” with them, which was a blessing.)

#4 Comment By Laurie On September 13, 2018 @ 6:40 am

“Community issues” are not like the weather, as stated.

I recently moved to a small town after living in a big city for decades. One thing I’ve noticed is that although I now know my neighbors, a high priority is placed on civility and not discussing politics, or any issue that might cause dissent among neighbors. We value our relationships more than discussing potentially divisive “community issues.”

#5 Comment By TomG On September 13, 2018 @ 8:20 am

Mr Chalk identifies the reality well enough until his conclusion. “It may sound cliché, but neighborliness is one of the most American of qualities.”

It has been my experience that neighborliness is pretty common in the village and small community–as true in other countries as here. It is not impossible in an urban setting when there is a community infrastructure for interaction be it the small grocery, cafe, farmers market, parks and so forth. Where it seems most commonly to fall apart is in suburbia where there is no community infrastructure and our fenced yards and air conditioned homes keep us inside and fixed to our screen of choice. And suburbia remains an expanding American quality along with our growing mistrust.

#6 Comment By Jon On September 13, 2018 @ 8:39 am

Indeed, a well written account of the importance of neighborliness. But then there is the other side: neighbors imposing their values on others who, though law-abiding, do not conform. Such a community suffocates the creative and perhaps somewhat reclusive individual. Such a community drives away the young who seek the anonymity of cosmopolitan cities. Such a community will attempt to reform the behavior and attitudes of the nonconformist with such caveats as “you must belong to the same church,” or, “why not join our rotary club and get to know the neighbors that way.”

And, what about the teetotaler who declines the neighbor’s invitation to share a few beers or sample an offering from the liquor cabinet? Or what about the vegetarian who declines an invitation to the barbecue?

Informal spurts of charitable mutual aid are fine where neighbor helps neighbor. But then again, there is the dark side which is the pressure to conform, group think, and what is generally termed as cognitive dissonance.

When an individual does not share the same set of values as his neighbors, he becomes emotionally isolated. Trust then rests only upon the surface, and he is apprehensive in his dealings with his neighbors. He treads on eggshells while engaging them. In short, he feels unwelcome as he reads the signs in their gestures, tone of voice, and their moments of silence.

The idyllic community then is one in which everyone is more or less a clone of everyone else and differences exist only on the surface where one homeowner has the head of a moose, antlers and all mounted on a wood paneled wall of his finished basement while the other neighbor has in his man cave the mounted head of a twelve point buck.

#7 Comment By joshua On September 13, 2018 @ 9:52 am

I agree with you. My wife and I are introverted people. We both enjoy quiet nights together vs getting out and meeting people. Despite our own desires we’ve tried very hard to get involved in our community for the sake of our 3 year old but as you attest. It is very hard to get to know your neighbors. We’ll keep trying despite the fact that neither of us really wants to but I do believe that is is a societal phenomenon. When peoples lives required working together communities were more easily sustained. In the modern city there is very little that one can’t accomplish on there own. This I believe is the root ill, abundance.

#8 Comment By mrscracker On September 13, 2018 @ 10:19 am

Some people just seem to want to remain anonymous but I’ve read about communities organizing neighborhood block parties. That would be one way to get to know your neighbors.

#9 Comment By JJ On September 13, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

I guess I’ve been lucky? I’ve only lived in two places since college graduation – an apartment for 14 years and a house for 12. At both locations, I knew/know all my surrounding neighbors. Both places are large cities, not the ‘burbs. I get the impression that those living in suburbs are much more isolated.

#10 Comment By Olga On September 13, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

I live in a large apartment building of over 1,000 people. There are maybe two people in the entire building that I have a relationship with. There were a couple of other neighbors, I was friends with, but they moved. Part of it is the desire for privacy. Your female neighbor had a gentleman caller, not a husband. She probably did not want to get into her complicated dating life with you or be judged by it. However, in the city while I don’t have a relationship with my direct neighbors, I am a member of many social clubs. Also churches perform this function as well. My neighbors live in my building because it is a convenient commute, it is what they could afford or what not. They don’t live in my building because we necessarily have common interests. You have as much control over who is your neighbor as who is your brother. You might have a great relationship with your brother or you might not get along at all. However, you might have to deal with each other from time to time for whatever reason.

#11 Comment By Lert345 On September 13, 2018 @ 1:16 pm

Used to be that being a good neighbor meant chatting with your other neighbors, checking in on them, getting to know their children and so on. Now being a good neighbor means leaving them alone.

I still recall this old story and always thought it a sad turn of our withdrawn culture.

[8]

I would have liked to have known the manufacture of the TV.

#12 Comment By Phillip On September 13, 2018 @ 2:00 pm

Get a dog and walk it at least twice a day. You’ll meet all of your neighbors in about a week or less.

#13 Comment By Positivethinker On September 13, 2018 @ 2:50 pm

“I get the impression that those living in suburbs are much more isolated.”

It didn’t used to be that way…

#14 Comment By loneconservative On September 13, 2018 @ 4:38 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with what Casey has written. There another matter which may cause neighbours in the USA (and in Canada, note my spelling!)to keep themselves at arms length … politics! In these times of intense polarization you don’t know what your neighbour’s politics are, or if you do know, and your politics is different, you may be weary of discussing it! I am a conservative and Conservative and most of my neighbours in my lower middle class area vote for the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) or for the Green Party. In my area, during Canada’s 2015 election a Conservative sign could get your place vandalized. I can well guess as how nervous American suburbanites may be about asking political questions with their neighbors. Although my neighbours are reasonably tolerant of such dissent, I do try to avoid the hot button issues! My block does have a annual summer potluck, and my next door neighbour said that ours “is the best block in the city!”

#15 Comment By Laurie On September 13, 2018 @ 4:41 pm

You might consider your own attitudes and how they might be affecting your neighbors – you say, for instance that your neighbor “sneered” over your mistake that the man leaving her house was her husband. You may have sounded judgmental, and, indeed, describing her as “sneering” does make you sound judgmental.

#16 Comment By Barbara James On September 13, 2018 @ 5:22 pm

I live in a large urban environment. Our townhouse is surrounded by a few others of a similar type. The vast majority of housing nearby consists of apartment buildings. I only want to know my neighbors in the townhouses because they are long standing residents. There are too many apartment dwellers, that it’s impossible to know anyone. Plus they come and go.

#17 Comment By JohnInCA On September 13, 2018 @ 6:46 pm

In my current place, the only time I’ve talked to my neighbors was when they harass us for not weeding the front yard as much as they want us to.

At a different place, I did talk to my neighbors… when they warned us to lock our truck lest it be stolen, and that I couldn’t leave my motorcycle outside (but behind a privacy fence) lest it be stolen.

So, uh, yeah. Currently in the market to buy a house, the one I have my eye on has 20 acres and precisely two neighbors. I think I’d be good with that.

#18 Comment By JeffK On September 13, 2018 @ 7:30 pm

@mrscracker says:
September 13, 2018 at 10:19 am

“Some people just seem to want to remain anonymous but I’ve read about communities organizing neighborhood block parties. That would be one way to get to know your neighbors.

4 Years ago, for my son’s high school graduation party, I asked my college buddy and his 4 piece rock band to come play at his BBQ party. I left invitations to the party for everybody on our street to come, including all of the neighbors within 50 yards of our house. Band scheduled to play from 4 till 7 Saturday.

Well over 80 people showed up, and almost every neighbor came and enjoyed the afternoon. A keg, BBQ,and live music. Little kids dancing like nobody is watching as they always do.

Then the cops showed up. 1 Neighbor decided to ruin a great day for all. He could have gone shopping, gone to the movies, or visited his in-laws that live in town. No, he had to sit in his house and call the cops, who really did not want to be there. Needless to say, he is now the neighborhood pariah.

Memo to people in a neighborhood. If you don’t want to neighborly, move out into the country. Way out. Don’t expect to enjoy the benefits of living in a neighborhood without considering others.

I am sure somebody will say the neighbor was within his rights. Ok. As my wife would say, “Fine”. Guess what, it ain’t “Fine”.

@Phillip says:
September 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

“Get a dog and walk it at least twice a day. You’ll meet all of your neighbors in about a week or less.”

Exactly. I walk my german shepherd 2 times a day at least. He is fantastic. Everybody knows and likes “Elvis”. They know me as “Elvis’s dad”. I’m good with that.

#19 Comment By Dale McNamee On September 13, 2018 @ 9:37 pm

I’m an introvert, been so since childhood, so I don’t have a “compulsion” to know my neighbor although I do have a few close friends…

My wife is a little less introverted, hut is becoming more so… She also works a job that consumes much of her time and leaves her very tired for her to do any socializing…

Our street is quiet after 6pm, even on the weekends… Everybody has to get up very early to avoid wasting time commuting…

When we moved here in 1990, there were a couple of block parties, but that died as people moved away and the “newcomers” weren’t into that…

And now with the “weaponization” of life and having to be on defense and being hyperalert all of the time, loneliness isn’t really all that bad…

#20 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 14, 2018 @ 12:40 am

“Get a dog and walk it at least twice a day. You’ll meet all of your neighbors in about a week or less.”

When the dog stops to defecate or urinate on your neighbor’s lawn, you can make their acquaintance.

#21 Comment By jasmin On September 14, 2018 @ 4:30 am

We are blessed with living in a cul de sac with neighbors who have been living their as long, or longer than we–thirty-two years. We help each other with snow removal, lawn care, and many other things. We rely on each other. And most of all we trust each other. A classic example is that when we decided to clean the attic one of our neighbors thought we were moving and she literally cried. Then again, I have heard and I know people who have lived next to neighbors from hell with whom they argue constantly about people keeping commercial vehicles in heir driveway, or having boats stored on their property during the winter. They might even argue over leaves from a tree blowing onto their property. In these cases, it is better to be anonymous. The only problem is that such an annoying neighbor won’t allow you to be. Like so many other things in life you have to be lucky.

#22 Comment By Gene On September 14, 2018 @ 4:51 am

I’ve lived in my house for over 30 years. I’ve had some wonderful neighbors. Some have passed away, some have moved. And now I don’t have neighbors, I just have people who live in houses next to mine.
I’ve reached out and/or helped everyone of them at some point in time. They don’t even wave at me if they see me in the yard. If I wave at them, they turn away. I hate it here. I really, really am miserable. I really, really am lonely in my own neighborhood.
And yes……the ones living here now are all Hispanic. Now, I’m not saying that they aren’t nice people. They mostly seem to be nice, family folks. But if I were lying in my front yard dying, I doubt that any one or them would notice, much less call 911.

#23 Comment By cynthia lucas On September 15, 2018 @ 8:38 am

I lost my husband 4 years ago after 44 years of marriage. I am also a Tea Party Leader and have been involved in Politics for ever. What I found is no one COMMUNICATES any more. I go out to my local pub to watch sports and be around live humans to talk to otherwise I would be alone. What I noticed is most of the people around the bar are not on there phone they are engaged in conversation and it like Cheers! One man stopped coming and the bartender found it that he went to senior home. This is what small town America use to be. I deleted the FAKE BOOK page for it is useless even during the last primary here in Florida. To much LOOK AT ME WHAT I DID!I am totally alone and a only child I have never been alone until now and it is terrible. I give of myself all the time and try to be compassionate to others. This is the results, no one picks up a phone, I leave messages to see if people are okay no one returns phone calls, text, emails, and it getting worse. I haven’t had a meeting since before the primary no one RSVP’S!I read all the time about the demise of Social Media and every word is true. No one except for a few can critically think any more so they are like sheep and I mean all ages! The seniors are at Happy Hour looking for matches online and everyone is on a anti depressant and I mean all ages. It is a scary. My Conservative Catholic Church where my Priest has spoken out from the pulpit on this is the only place I can go to hear the truth. This is the ME SOCIETY! How nice it would be to able to communicate with real Critical Thinkers not the CULT THAT WE HAVE NOW!

#24 Comment By Lisa Merle On September 16, 2018 @ 12:59 am

(1) “It may sound cliché, but neighborliness is one of the most American of qualities.”

Perhaps it used to be, when most Americans lived in rural areas/villages and HAD to depend on each other at various times. And I believe there are still pockets of “neighborliness” in smaller cities and towns, even in large metro areas. But that kind of “American Neighborliness” ~ where people genuinely gave a hoot ~ declined (somewhere at mid-point 20th century, post-WWII years)? As one commenter here pointed out, abundance may have had something to do with it.

(2) Uncontrolled immigration has certainly played a part. We also live in northern Virginia, in a townhouse development, so I can vouch for that BIG-time! We’re surrounded by immigrants who, though educated and affluent, are far from the “neighbors” I knew, growing up in a blue-collar Philadelphia neighborhood. Practically everyone knew everyone else on our street, even if we weren’t all “friends”. But if help was needed, you could get it. And more people looked out for each other.

(3) Due to an upsurge in young families in our development, a few of these families have taken to organising parties on the tennis court or grassy, available areas.

A few years ago, a July 4th BBQ started what’s now a tradition; in a few weeks there’ll be an ice cream social (a first). Halloween: children’s parade after which a social hour follows. (The Halloween event is the longest-running one here so far.) These help bring residents together, at least for a little while. It gives people a chance to chat and forge friendships, if possible.

We lived in northern California for 20 years and it wasn’t so wonderful there either re. “neighborliness”. The best was when we lived in a real neighborhood in Santa Clara and our kids were elementary school age ~ people extended themselves more and were helpful.

But I’ll never forget when we moved there ~ this has been the case when we moved to another northern CA location a few years later, and then here to northern Virginia. People saw us and the moving truck and NO ONE bothered to introduce themselves or to say “hello”. No one even knocked on our door to introduce themselves.

I could go on and on but suffice to say: the American system (of government) may be better than most places in the world, and our living standard way higher, but I don’t think (anymore) that USA is the best place to live.

As difficult as many Latin American nations are (to live), it’s hard not to notice that many from those nations seem more committed to their families, friends and (their own ethnic) communities than your average American-born. And perhaps that is more important to them than “being American” or being “patriotic”: they’re far more committed to each other and that’s what counts the most, on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps more of us “born-Americans” could learn something from them ~ for starters, it may actually upgrade our civic/social lives.

#25 Comment By Delmas On September 16, 2018 @ 3:28 pm

Love God with all thy heart and soul and above all else, and love thy neighbour as thyself.

#26 Comment By NealSchilling On September 17, 2018 @ 8:17 am

Please, stop the nonsense. Being 72 years old this is nothing new. Back in the 50’s neighbors had so much more in common, including respect for other opinions. There was limited air conditioning, so people mostly sat outside on their porches which did lead to communication. There was no internet, in fact, there weren’t many tv sets, there were no computer games or on-line cults to act as communal conversation. We had many common beliefs, 99.9% of the whole neighborhood believed that marriage was between a man and a woman and if you believed this you were not called names, some kind of mean, ignorant person. The vast majority of adults had just experienced the horrors of a World War (Though it brought us truly together). Almost every neighbor had lost a family member, all had lived through a long depression. The Church was important in my neighborhood, priests walked through the parish, joining us sit on our porch steps communicating, offering help, relieving sorrow, and making sure I showed up for mass on Sunday. Children played in the streets, at city parks, vacant lots, and our friends parents let the kids know if they were doing something wrong. We had nuns for every grade in grammar school, they played 16 inch softball with us on the church parking lot, and came to CYO competitions as support. If a family had a car, it was the family car, we depended on neighbors to often drive us to outside activities. Seeing 5 or 6 kids in a car were common sights, how many cars even have more than one person, the driver, in 2018? The Civil Rights movement was concerned about judging people based on character, we in 2018 have Black Lives Matter, segregated dormitories. Colleges were places that offered diversity of opinion, not a forced “Borg” compliance. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara were Hollywood stars, the movies stressed personal virtues, accountability, responsibility. Family’s depended on each other we didn’t look to government to solve every problem. Truman had to drive a car home in 1953, now presidents are given millions of dollars when they leave Washington DC. We had neighborhood stores where everybody knew the butcher, not non-personal mall clerks. Stores closed on Sundays, families ate together, people faced you and looked each other in the eye and communicated. We didn’t text. If we said something bad to a person, we didn’t hide behind a cell phone. We had just had health insurance available, doctors made house calls, and lawyers, insurance companies and greed didn’t rule services. My sister was born in 1955 and the hospital charged $25 dollars a day, and the doctor was paid $75 for delivery. Now hospitals charge $25 dollars for a box of tissue. Sorry, I could go on and on–I hope I made my point, this loneliness didn’t start yesterday, it began over 50 years ago when, “We, the People, turned to big government to tell us what to think, how to act, made us dependent, and turned America into a huge dystopia. Thank you Progressivism, the ideology that just grows while are humanness and freedoms go by the wayside. Loneliness, impotence, and lack of communication are the results. If I told this to half my neighbors today, I would be labeled a ignorant, hateful, old white man. I don’t think Notre Dame would have removed a crucifix from the wall as a president gave a speech, do you?

#27 Comment By mrscracker On September 17, 2018 @ 2:45 pm

front yard dying, I doubt that any one or them would notice, much less call 911.

cynthia lucas says:

“I lost my husband 4 years ago after 44 years of marriage. I am also a Tea Party Leader and have been involved in Politics for ever. What I found is no one COMMUNICATES any more. I go out to my local pub to watch sports and be around live humans to talk to otherwise I would be alone…. The seniors are at Happy Hour looking for matches online and everyone is on a anti depressant and I mean all ages. ”
*****************
I hear you.

I’m a widow, too & I’m so sorry about your loss.

I’ve found the world is pretty much set up for couples. No matter what you do, you can end up feeling like a third wheel.

Catholic groups for single folks over 40 claim their main purpose is for fellowship but you know that’s not why most people show up to the events. And the odds of finding an older spouse who’s eligible to be married in the Catholic Church & respects Church teaching on marriage & family is about as slim as being hit by lightning. If you think about it, folks our age grew up in the ’60’s & ’70’s when the culture was already unraveling & nobody was properly catechized.

My son told me roughly a third of his fellow workers in a call center were on mood altering medications to deal with the stress. It was probably even a higher number.

Civic involvement is a wonderful way to connect to your community. Volunteering, too. I used to visit nursing home patients for a parish outreach committee & it certainly puts things into perspective. No matter how challenging things may be for folks who are widowed, if we have the use of our minds & limbs, aren’t confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed & can get to church or shopping in our own vehicle- we’re blessed.

Good for you going to pubs on your own to watch sports! It’s too bad we don’t live closer or I’d join you. I don’t drink but I like football.
God bless!
🙂

#28 Comment By mrscracker On September 17, 2018 @ 2:47 pm

PS:
I apologize. It looks like I copied & pasted part of a remark from another comment above Cynthia’s. So sorry. My copy & paste skills failed again. And there’s no edit feature here.

#29 Comment By mrscracker On September 17, 2018 @ 2:55 pm

NealSchilling : “My sister was born in 1955 and the hospital charged $25 dollars a day, and the doctor was paid $75 for delivery. Now hospitals charge $25 dollars for a box of tissue. ”
****************
People think I’m making this up, but just back in the 1980’s our country doctor charged $3.00 per visit including all medications. After a while, before he retired, the price went up to $5.00
He always had a full waiting room & you just showed up & waited your turn-no appointments.

#30 Comment By Patricia Morgan On September 18, 2018 @ 12:35 am

I know all my neighbors. We talk, share food, barter or trade goods and services. We watch each other’s houses when we travel. I even know most of my neighbors out of town relatives. I know their life stories and their food preferences. Adrienne was born in McKees Rocks, Steve hates vegetables, Eddie can fix anything and Cris rides a unicycle like nobody’s business. You might think I live in small town America. I don’t. I live in a major suburb in Southern California.

Get out of your house and talk to your neighbors! America is what you make it.

#31 Comment By Carl Nelson On September 18, 2018 @ 6:56 pm

Nice essay. Having a cute dog and walking it are a great way to meet the neighbors. And when they see you picking up its poop, they’ll put you on their good person list. Then when their grandkids come out to pet it, you’re in the ‘hood.