Even though I don’t know all my neighbors by name, I do know all of their quirks. There’s the buff lady across the street who is always out either watering her lawn or washing her car. She has one black cat that is groomed like a lion and feeds about 10 other strays. There’s a mom on the corner who is a smoker and who looks suspicious of everyone even though she sometimes leaves her baby out in the yard by himself. And next door to us, there’s a woman who sits for hours in her front window typing out a long tragic novel. She also owns one cat (not groomed like a lion, just ordinarily groomed) and feeds the 10 neighborhood strays. I know less about the people further down the street and almost nothing about the people around the corner.
Sometimes I think about how fun it must have been when everyone knew their neighbors and block parties were a normal thing. (Didn’t they look fun and full of good things like potato salad?) I’m so happy our friends Ali and Elijah live less than a mile away because they feel like the kind of good neighbors everyone should have. In the past few weeks, our neighborly activities have included: going on a walk, borrowing a hand saw, going over for coffee, and sharing treats. A few days ago, Ali left a package of cookies at our door since we weren’t home. She texted me “enjoy your evening. p.s. 6 cats watched me drop it off and they slowly began circling in. I have no idea what’ll happen between when I left and when you arrive.” Sometimes those cats are the creepiest neighbors of all.