What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

11 May 2011

These Are the People in my Neighbourhood

I may not have mentioned before that I live in a low-income neighbourhood, one that people from other parts of town regard as the "bad" neighbourhood or a high-crime area or whatever. And I can't dispute that bad things happen-- there have been some car windows broken out recently, for instance. But the bad part of town? Really?

When we moved here, I was determined that I would greet my neighbours whenever I met them, which is pretty frequently, being car-free as so many of us are. This may go down as the first time in my life that I've made a reasonable resolution and actually stuck to it-- it isn't easy to tell on a blog, but I am a bit reserved in public and rarely talk to people I don't know. (This makes me a real hit at church, btw.) However. New city, new neighbourhood, new personality, yes? Turns out it's fun to talk to the neighbours, and of course, it makes me more of a known part of the neighbourhood-- something that I think is pretty important as a runner, should any difficulties ever arise.

So. Here's what I see in my neighbourhood: Parents walking their small kids to school (not driving). Older kids getting themselves to school or to the bus stop. School-age kids running quick errands or getting themselves to the swimming pool. Neighbours who greet one another at the bus stop or at the grocery store. Nothing is perfect, and certainly our part of town isn't paradise, but we do get a bit of a Mayberry feel around here from time to time.

Look at all these happy people! ;)
Anyway, a couple of things brought on this train of thought: First, I read Free-Range Kids. A lot. Lenore is a genius. Second, a conversation came up the other day in which someone told me I'll have to give up my car-free ways once we have children. Now, I know for sure this is a load of balderdash, since there are plenty of families around here who are car-free and managing just fine (which is my usual response to that sort of statement: "Not in my neighbourhood."). And if that weren't proof enough for me, I keep running across all sorts of blogs or news stories about people who likewise heard this prediction of car-filled doom, and yet are managing public transportation, walking, or bicycles with kids in tow. Sometimes quite literally.

That's not to say that things won't change. We might end up getting a car again. We might have to get ourselves equipped with a car seat and all those other fancy gadgets. Or, we might move to a city that is even more accessible when car-free than Austin is, and continue to enjoy our neighbourhood without the aid of a motor. But that's hardly a decision I'm going to make now, all naysayers aside.

But for now, the Cheeky household is happily car-free. And happily engaged with our neighbours. And whatever your mode of transport, I hope you feel as at home and happy in your little slice of the world as I do in mine.

Do you know your neighbours? Have you gone outside today to experience your neighbourhood?


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

mybabyjohn said...

Our daughter thinks she is car free, and she is, except for the several times a week she is in our car as a passenger with her two kids or in a taxi. This city does not lend itself to car free. Good on you if you can pull it off satisfactorily.

Title Loans said...

Unfortunately, the people in my neighborhood tend to be a little pretentious. It's sad, really; and I think the people really make the neighborhood. Are the apartments nice? Sure. But the people are not. And that is what really matters!

mshatch said...

I do know some of my neighbors well enough to wave to, stop to chat with, and I always wave to everyone on my street. We may not all know one another beyond that wave but it doesn't hurt to be friendly.

Su said...

@Steve: Thanks for the invite & the follow!

@mybabyjohn: Taxis to me still fall into public transportation. Your car, on the other hand, isn't. Bummer that you can't be car-free in your city! :(

@Ava: That's sad. You're right: The people matter a lot more than the scenery.

@mshatch: I couldn't agree more!

Liz said...

"I am a bit reserved in public and rarely talk to people I don't know."

Yeah, me too.

Can't really go car-free around here. It must be nice to live in an area where that's possible.

Jenny said...

We live pretty far out in the country to go car free, but I want a bicycle and a tow along cart for my littlest one so we can go bike riding as a family.
PS, I love 5.10 on your list. I am grateful for the USPS quite a lot myself! :)

Su said...

@Liz: Isn't that why we blog? ;)

@Jenny: I was in a highly efficient post office this week. ;) And I love those little trailers!

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

do you not go on road trips? I'm all for biking, but man I need to go surfing a few times a year!

We just bought a house and are making an effort to get to know our neighbors - unfortunately almost all of them are renters who'll be gone in a year. My wife is also a grade a people watcher so we learn a lot just by observation :)

Su said...

No, I'm not much of a road tripper. Although when we do need to take a car somewhere, we just rent one.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

I am getting to know my neighbors - it's a shame we are the only homeowner on our block so we'll have a revolving cast of neighbors.

Su said...

@Charlie: I think it's awesome you came back to comment again after Blogger lost comments! :D That is a bummer, though-- since I am a renter, I kinda feel the same way.