(This was a post I made on Facebook in April of 2020. I’m reposting it so that voters can get a real sense of me.)
I was sitting in my yard at my house and thinking about my block. I was thinking about there is probably 25 old houses on my block and how there are probably 25 lawnmowers. That one always bothers me because they’re used like an hour every couple weeks. Though if should bother me more that there are probably 50 cars. All these resources on my block underutilized, maybe I have something a neighbor needs and they have something I need.
I imagine there are hundreds of books, maybe thousands. Maybe those books are mostly in a couple houses, maybe some houses have none or a few. I wonder how many copies of the same books there are. I wonder if my neighbor has a great book I’ve never read that would change my life or vice versa.
Several of the houses I believe are nicer and some have only one person living there with a home office, sunroom and guest bedroom or two. Sometimes I think they might be lonely in their nice house with nice yard. Then there are houses like mine with 7 people in a 4 bedroom, it’s not bad but we all still barely pay rent.
I think about the house on the corner that probably sells drugs and tends to have people yelling a lot, like the mental ill yelling. I never go over there and ask what’s wrong. Then there is the single mom and her 5 year old next door. She probably could use some babysitting. I imagine there are people on this block who are great with kids.
I think about my fenced in yard next to the 25 other fenced in yards. I think about how the fence blocks the sun and I can’t grow enough garden. How that is probably true for others. I think about the kids that need more area to run and play ball. That their yard isn’t big enough for games. If the fences were gone in back but only in front then our pets could learn each other instead of barking. Maybe I could pet a neighbors dog rather than have my own.
I wonder how many tools we share in common? 50 hammers? Rakes, hoes and shovels? Even more expensive power tools there are probably a huge number, enough for all the projects. They probably each are used only a very little.
Then Comcast gets probably $80 x 25 a month for internet. That’s $2,000/ month or $24,000/ year paid to comcast from my block. Seems like we could have internet for cheaper than that right? Maybe there are 75-100 people on my block. I’m not sure. How many computers and phones then? How many printers? How many tvs? Music players? How many musicians and instruments? Enough for a band? How many projects do I have left undone that someone on my block would be able to help me do? How many projects do they have that I could help finish? What dreams do they have that I could help with? How many opportunities for love and deep friendship or good laughs and support am I missing from my one block? What about warm meals and games?
Instead I don’t know them and we don’t share or cooperate or take care of each other. I do know a few, and I enjoy their company but not most. Proximity is important in sustainability. Instead I know people all over town and I travel to see them. I don’t share all these things with them like a lawnmower because they aren’t next door.
With the coronavirus and things changing I wonder if the solutions are simple. I just need to share with my neighbors and spend my days helping them and them me. No need to buy when you share and fix hyper locally. More garden space without those privacy fences blocking the sun. Am I hiding from them or am I hiding them from me?
The most difficult part is getting along and accepting others and solving our problems with each other. It seems weird that that is so daunting a task we would rather work more or suffer alone. At some point we may be forced to become hyper local. I’d rather just make the choice to do it now.