Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blogologue pt 2: Community

it's rainy and nothing but rather uninteresting chores to do (distributing my freshly earned money)... so why not.

m said: "I often am frustrated by just the disparity between my small-town roots and my big-city existance."

suley said: "What you are describing - being alienated from one's neighbors - I think is less of an issue in the South, especially in the smaller burgs."

So it is still there in the smaller towns huh? And bad me, all I remember from smaller towns is claustrophobia. But I think (know) this is true, people can let their hair down in smaller towns, get the mail in their pj's (ok i have done this here, but that doesn't make it ok) bring veggies over to their neighbors from their garden, etc.

M's comment reminded me of a prof I had for 3 years teaching me spanish (small classes) and she still would never greet me in the corridors. 3 years! That's just odd.

suley also said: " Ah, but does this community not also exist, at least in a limited form, in the blog world? "

hmmmm. perhaps. but in a way, since their is so much latitude for untruth in the internet world, i feel like it's just a mirror of a community.

"I crave solitude a lot. I'm around a whiny 3 year old and two parents who are constantly fussing at each other all the time."

The solution for this is to move out of the house, live in an apartment and pay bills.

And so thinkng about community, I personalized it. What do I do to make my community know me? I feel like I have started, I have attempted. I do the neighborhood watch thing (don't laugh) so I go to alot of peoples houses and call them and will be having them over. I talk to people when I walk the dog, I talk to my neighbors, go to their houses and look at their projects.

But what else? What do you do, readers? What could you do that wouldn't be contrived and make you feel like an interloper? What could/should anyone do to try to roll back this trend? This isn't something that the government controls that we have very little say in, this is absolutely something that can only be dealt with by individuals. I am not a cool person, I am not a beautiful rich person, I am not perfect or special really...but I know I have done a few things right with regard to my communities and I can say I know it has had an impact (if small). I invited my rather shut in neighbors over for christmas eve. I go visit and elderly man with my daughter just to keep him company (I don't do it enough, I should call him today)...and what more can I do?

What more can anyone do? Bring some extras of whatever delicious thing is laying around? If they look at you like you were mad, is that you're fault? Is it wrong to do the right thing?

I don't know, it is just an idea. But I get happy when I consider that all it takes to kind of change this really, is just each one of us individually deciding to not be like strangers. Community starts with people,not the government.

My daughter


RunningWheel said...

I think you are doing it just right! You are a very giving person who cares a lot about how others are doing. You are good at reaching out to others. I wouldn't be surprised if you are already getting that kind of positive reputation within your own neighborhood. But you may not even realize it for years.

We all probably have a few people in our lives that really touch us deeply, remind us that we are valuable, are there when we need a friend. But how often do we let this person know we appreciate them? I have heard friends like this ask if they make a difference...they didn't even realize how powerfully they already have.

The tricky part is balance. It is all of our responsibility to create community, not just one or two individuals. A person could easily be run ragged if they were always the one making sure everyone was doing well. it is hard to balance breadth and depth.

suleyman said...

I am moving out for grad school, although I'm still on the fence as to where I will be moving to. So, booyah.

What you are doing in your community seems like enough. I don't do any of that stuff.

You could contribute to some long-distance community by sending me some banana bread :)


em said...

(First of all, daughter is soooo cute!!! I love it!!)
I just caught up on your blog. I was really interested in the 'blogalogue'. I come from a town of <200 people. Not only was the town small, it was geographically isolated. We really had no choice but to depend on each other and as a result knew everything of everyone. I used to dream of living in a place with infinite possibilities and having a sense of anonymity. Now at 30 I miss the community. The town I live in now is fairly large (for New England). I moved in next door to my sister. I looked up friends from college that live in the area. I even found a couple of friends from highschool. It is hard to explain: people can make my skin crawl but I need to feel part of a community? Especially since almost no one I will ever meet shares a background with me.
I guess Maine is still very community oriented. Even in our biggest town we have neighboorhood events and corner stores where everyone knows everyone. It can make a person claustrophobic but I think of how they would all know who my son was and who he 'belonged to' if there was ever any trouble? and they would give a damn as well. It does give me some security.

Fitèna said...

You're doing fine Heather! I believe you were first looked at with suspecion, no? But people change (thank God) and in this case, am sure its for the better. They'll start talking to each other, greeting each other then get to the real reason why they've started talking to each other: who is she? why does she do it? She actaully invited us on christmas eve? She invited you too? that's weird? Not weird, nine. That's nice.


PS: Big kiss to Ady!