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It doesn't make you a geezer.
It means that you're one of those people who can actually be loved.


Well, if you're a Geezer, then I must be one, too. I miss those days; I think many of us do. It seems everyone's too busy (earning money to pay for their goodies, perhaps?) to take time out to be neighborly. Thanks for some great writing -- and for presenting the different issues to ponder.


Sometimes I feel like a broken record, or a civic add campaign... but... come to Portland.

I know my local bank teller, pharmacist, and meatman. I know both my neighbors. And nearly every restruant and hotel manager at the major venues in town. If it sounds like this is unique... well, Portland is.

Although a single man from Manhattan or San Francisco might go nuts here... representatives have complained that we Portlanders are all "married with children". And in fact, I found that wealth of social connections opened with the birth of my son.

And it goes both ways... I can hardly keep in touch with Mike, my friend of 20 plus years, because he is always traveling and hanging with a younger, less entangled crowd.

So it seems that some of us might be alientated just so long as we remain "strangers in a strange land" by choice.

All that being said... I still agree with the notion that we are an increasingly socially isolated nation. But I dont know what this means, per se.

I mean, 200 years ago if you were living on the frontier you were also pretty cut off... this lasted until just the 75 years ago.

And while it might seem that we must have been better connected when we moved into the cities at the turn of the century... maybe this isnt exactly true? Consider the subway or appartment phenomena in NY City, people work hard to invent privacy in cramped conditions.

Then after WWII we all fled for the burbs... if for what other reason that to get away from our neighbors? Isnt the best selling point of a new subdivision its remoteness and lack of neighbors?

Today there is a certain yearning and nostalgia for a perceived "golden age" of civil society... picket fences and "granny flats" and houses built close together. Althought I approve of the movement it is based on an ideal, rather than on history.

Wanna get to know your neighbors? Go out and meet them! Our block still has barbeques, the kids play on eachother's lawns, and people bring you baby and maternity hand me downs. But we had to take the first step and introduce ourselves...

Although the guy directly behind us still lives like a hermit, with security cameras and all, and he is probably beyond reach (I once shocked him by knocking on his door and inquiring about him after I spotted ambulences at his house).

To paraphrase Saturday Night Live... "Get to know eachother!"

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