Good Morning Ted and Jody:
I forget how insular we are living in our own homes. Yesterday afternoon, Frank parked his truck with the camper on the back on the Hall Road in a pull off. He went to the nearest neighbor to the parking spot who was working in the yard and told the fellow he was waiting there for a bit until his employer got there. Frank was close to being out of fuel and when a diesel runs out of fuel, it is a bear to restart (I have never understood why people by those kinds of engines in vehicles for “normal use”). To wait he walked the 900 feet to my place where he sat in a chair for a bit in the front. Then he went back to the truck for something and returned to my place. He went back to the truck at least twice.
When I got home, I saw his truck and knew he was about. He was in my yard waiting. We talked and I figured out he needed fuel so took him into the Toutle store to get some. I dropped him at the truck with the fuel and parked down Hall Road a bit in the next pull out. Then the neighbors on Hall Road began to appear. One fellow, Don, finally approached me and had questions about Frank. I vouched for him and told the Don he worked for me and that there had been some confusion this morning. As Frank didn’t have a phone, we misconnected.
Don, did not remember meeting me many years ago. So, I explained that I was a new guy on the block as I have only lived her since 2007. (He by way of contrast has lived here since 2006). I told him exactly where I lived some 500 feet further down Hall Road, the next drive past Ted’s, and 300 feet back. I pointed to Ted who was standing in his drive some 150 feet away watching (I have seen Ted outside only six or seven times. The only time I met him was in 2006 when we came with the builder to do an onsite prior to putting our house up. Ted approached at that time and wanted money for sewage hookup—another long story. I never talked with Ted again.) Don’s remark showed just how much he knew his neighborhood “Oh, they built back there?” In all fairness, you have to know we are there to see the house from the road and be driving slowly past our drive. I further explained to Don that I had met him back in 2008 when his nephew was selling buffalo meat out of Don’s garage at a garage sale. He smiled as if in remembrance, but I could see from the following frown, my earlier meeting was not in his memory cache and he was working out how I knew his name was Don. At that point I stuck out my hand and said my name.
So, the neighbors were worried that Frank might set up camping on the turnout. They were worried that Frank might take something, destroy something or the like because Frank dresses like a homeless person (he is a homeless person) and his camper looks like it is held together with graffiti, chewing gum and string (it kind of is). However, they are so insular that they didn’t even know me their neighbor (nor I them, however, I knew they by sight and by first name).
Now at this point I could talk about trust and acceptance or the demise of community or a whole bunch of other things. However, I am going to simply stop by saying, we are all too insular and unaccepting of others.
Warmest regards, Ed