i heard a re-run of a 2002 this american life piece on the radio this weekend. found magazine's contributor, davy rothbart, interviews mr. rogers 20 years after meeting him as a child. the whole segment made me smile. mr. rogers, davy, davy's neighbors. it's about neighbors and the connections we have (and don't have). he says, the only way [we] get in contact with neighbors is through conflict. and that shocked me. but i know it's true. there isn't any conflict in the building, so how many of my neighbors do i know?
during the first year in this building (we've been here about a year and a half) i hadn't gotten to know anyone by name. i would see people upon entering and exiting the building and i always smiled and said hello, but that's the extent of the relationship. sometimes it's not even that much if someone's is scowling or listening to music. what kind of neighborhood is this? why don't i know more of these people? because of circumstances (sharing a living space!!!), i should at least know everyone's name.
about a month ago, we received a notice that building management sprung for new windows for the whole building.installation started last week and will continue for the next week or two. during this time, i've met susan--the neighbor to the left of me. our bathrooms are about 5 feet apart; if we opened the windows we could actually talk to (and see!) each other. a little creepy. she says, it's funny we haven't officially met before because with our bathrooms right next to each other, we probably know more about each other than we'd like! ha, that's right; i already knew she had a bird and loves that spirit of '76 song. i also met carl and vanessa--the couple across the hall from me. and then there's paul down the hall--he's the building "manager" but how he manages the building, i'm not quite sure. and then i had a neighbor walk in to my apartment in her pajamas while the door was open--she wanted to see the new windows. i didn't catch her name, but i know she lives in apartment 103 and doesn't work during the day time.
what would mister rogers think?