Thursday, June 15, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor

I don't know any of my neighbors. That is, beyond a passing glance and a wave. Lately, I've often thought about going to a few doors and introducing myself. Just to put names with faces. I think it might be a good thing. Just in case, you know, I should happen to need some sugar.

I found this today, via Addison Phillips. It seems KnowThyNeighbor.org started in Massachusetts and now have a presence here, I presume in reaction to Florida4Marraige.org. I'm trying to figure out really what the effectiveness of this is. In fact, in their response to KTN some of the same thoughts crossed my mind.

I get the intention. I do. Trying to start conversations and open communication, but this seems really...divisive. Perhaps I'm being too sentimental, too worried about brother vs. brother, and maybe it's the matter of seeing them all there in a detailed list form. Truthfully, the first thing it reminded me of is an assassins hit list.

I didn't want to search through it, but I did anyway. First my street, then a name, and another and another. It was like crack. I couldn't stop. I felt so invasive. It was rather disheartening, but not surprising to see the names of people I know and some I care for among the signers of this amendment. People who should really just know better.

Relatively all the people who know me and what I'm about now are scattered across the country, heck, around the world. And I do love meeting you all in this way. I wouldn't be as sure of myself without that kind of support. Goodness knows I wouldn't get it locally. I can clearly state that I would not have come out if it weren't for an online presence. Take from that what you will.

But I don't know the name of the kid in the wheelchair two doors down. Or even why he's in one. Where is the Asian looking man across the street from? Who is the little monkey girl that visits there and is probably my son's age? Is any of this even my business?

I've always liked my solitude. It's when I think the clearest. My thoughts don't exactly come freely so it takes time to polish them into coherence. But now at times it's becoming uncomfortable. Ignorance may be bliss to a degree but it's shockwave can be felt for miles. I'm no longer ignorant. I'm just paranoid. I know exactly what I'm afraid of. Where is the line between disclosure and irresponsibility? I have to keep my kids safe, but not in a cage.

My wife's grandparents live down a few houses, too. They know the neighbors. They all talk to each other. They have garage sales together. It's awkward to interact without the boys around. They are like my shield. I want to know what people think about what's going on and why they do. But then it's harder to do if the person that lives within throwing distance of you decides they hate you because of your past or who you love.

There's a high possibility I will have to sell my house after all this divorce stuff. I've tried to keep this house as a way of keeping stability for monkeys. It's someplace they know, it keeps drastic change down to a minimum. But I've said it before and it won't be the last time, it all comes down to money. I'm not sure I can afford to live here and take care of them at the same time.

So it may be a moot point. I still may try and meet the neighbors. Just give them my name. Even if I get salt instead of sugar when I ask for it.

6 comments:

Michael said...

Ya know amigo, I live in apartments (well studio in my case) and I know the folks that live next to me. Can't say I'm one for yelling over the fence to start the barbque up and we'll all hang out and have some laughs. Sometimes, knowing your neighbors isn't exactly all it's cracked up to be.

Then again, I'm probably the "wierd, quiet" guy of the complex. *shrug*

Still, if they couldn't see what I and a lot of other folks that come here see in you...well I'd say they're missing out.

Atari_Age said...

Wow, I hopped on the link and did the same thing for Massachusetts. The single family house lined street I lived on until a few months ago - in a gay relationship - with a kid. And holy crap, I've walked by some of them and waved a polite "hi", sometimes with the kid. And to think they must have seeeeeeethed at it so much that they signed this thing.

As for moving... you know, some kids have an easier time with change than others. (I hated even having our bedroom rearranged) But, they can and do adapt, as you know. You can let them know if a change, like a move, is coming. But you will still be in the new place and in that house there will always be a place for them.

You are their anchor.

Brad said...

If your neighbors signes this crappy petition, they don't deserve to know you, my friend.

Signalite said...

Brad: On the contrary, maybe if I could get to know them maybe they would take a second thought about it.

Brad said...

Very true Alden, very true.

David said...

If people you know, and more so, care about have signed that petition, well, it's not my place to say that you have a duty to talk to them about it, but if it were me, I would be knocking on their door with a homebaked cake and a request to talk and let them know that what they did, far from protecting marriage, is hurting both me and families everywhere. If they should know better, help them to know better.

About the house, that would be very sad, but change is part of life. As long as you are part of their lives, then any change the monkeys must weather will be minor in comparison.