N is for Neighbors with Fancy Cocktails

NI wonder if I stood on the sidewalk in front of my house with a pitcher of fancy cocktails, if I would be able to get to know my neighbors.

As of today, I have lived in my new Ohio home for 264 days and have yet to have a significant conversation with the people who live in the houses next door. In fact, if I were to pass them in my friendly neighborhood Kroger, I doubt I would be able to recognize any of them as having a street address close to mine.

When I moved to Louisville almost 17 years ago, I had met and had a conversation with every person on the block by lunchtime. By dinnertime, I had a plate of fresh-baked brownies, a basket of muffins and an invitation to share a home-cooked meal. A few years later, we somewhat reluctantly moved across town and were greeted on moving day with a footrace through the yard as new neighbors rushed to welcome us and offer to carry in the furniture.

I did not anticipate that relocating a mere 114 miles north would take us to a completely different culture. We have, however, crossed the invisible line between the “friendly South” and the “hostile North”, and I am definitely on the wrong side.

We have made plenty of attempts to learn more about these people who call themselves neighbors. We smiled and waved to those who strolled past the house in those early days¬† only to be rewarded with cautious glances and hurried footsteps. The Young One and I spent hours in the driveway shooting basketball, hoping the sounds of the bouncing ball and laughter would bring out other children and their mommas. We’re still waiting.

Sangrita

It’s as tasty as it looks.

We’ve invited the neighbors to housewarming parties, college football rivalry parties and a Super Bowl party. The only people who showed were other transplants like ourselves who are equally perplexed by this strange world of un-neighborly neighbors. As soon as we get together, the first question asked is, “Guess how many of the neighbors have said, ‘Hi’?”

“None!” we all shout at the same time and clink glasses.

Aside from finding other neighborhood children for my child to play with, I’m not really sure why I want to forge some kind of relationship with the people next door. I suppose I’d like to be sure they aren’t doing illegal things over there. Plus, I think it would be nice to know I have someone close by who actually cares…

Cares enough to ask how I’m settling in…

Cares enough to ask after the MIL’s health…

Cares enough to know my dog’s gotten off her leash…

Cares enough to buy the obligatory box of Thin Mints from the Young One…

Cares enough to ask how the Older One is doing and how I’m doing while he’s so far away…

Last weekend, my Transplant Support Group did our usual toast with a delicious round of Sangritas, a delightful combination of sangria and margaritas whipped up by yours truly. That’s when I started wondering about bribing my neighbors with fancy cocktails.

I think I’ll go make a sign and set up a table next weekend…”Free Fancy Cocktails! Free Friendship! No Strings Attached!”