Three-hundred and sixty-four days a year, sixty-five if it’s a leap year, I have no clue who most of my neighbors are. Sometimes when I go out to get the mail I see people out walking their dogs or pushing strollers down the street, or walking dogs and pushing strollers, which is an impressive feat for a single person, especially if their dog happens to be a Great Pyrenees. Or I might pass by people out walking as I’m driving somewhere—always very slowly through my neighborhood because it seems to be a place where a lot of people like to walk which irritates me because I think I should be out walking too. It would be good for my health and also might give me some idea who some of my neighbors are.
At least I do know the people who live on one side of us. I saw the guy wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt one day and commented on it and we started talking and half an hour later my wife came out to make sure I hadn’t collapsed and died in the driveway.
The one time of year I at least see most of the neighbors is Halloween. For several years now a couple of people have organized a two-hour shutdown of the street so everyone can walk up and down without worrying someone’s going to drive through, even very slowly, which I always think is great. I’ve never taken the opportunity to walk much up and down the street myself, though, since I always put out a big bowl of candy and I stay by it to watch all the people who come by. And by the end of the evening I’ve given out handfuls of it because if they don’t take it I’ll eat it.
This year, though, I’m planning to take advantage of the opportunity to walk up the street and say hello to some people who have a really interesting yard. I plan to do it early, though I might risk missing them, but I don’t want to get there late when they’re giving out their candy in handfuls because if I take it I’ll eat it. If nothing else a stroll down the street will give me a chance to meet some of my neighbors.
And as always the last word on Halloween goes to Lou Reed.