Monday, May 09, 2005

on neighborhoods

I've blogged before about the dog walkers around here. There's a core group of us who always walk our dogs, no matter what the season or weather. We all know each other by sight and sometimes by dog names. There's a lot of teasing that goes along with this companionship; I get heckled for walking so quickly, another dog-walker for his willingness to stop and talk to everyone and a third for somehow never remembering to bring along a plastic bag. With warmer weather, more dog walkers have headed out, but I expect most of them to disappear indoors come the heat of July.

My favorite is the man who loves to stop and chat. He's learned that I don't stop, so he'll do the laps around the block with me. He works full time, but also attends night school, so we heckle each other about teacher-student woes. We'd known each other about a year when we discovered each other's political leanings; I think we may be the only liberals around for miles. Last night we tried to solve the fiscal crisis confronting Indiana: education or medical care? We didn't come up with an answer, but it felt good to blow off a little steam.

Though my neighbors' political views sometimes drive me mad, I am very fortunate to live in a truly friendly community. If I fell ill, people would come by with casseroles, offers to walk Sam and general good wishes for my recovery. This wasn't all that unusual a hundred or so years ago, when members of a community knew that they depended quite intimately upon each other, but I think is much more rare today. Some of these neighbors know that I voted for Kerry and oppose the bans on civil unions, but it doesn't matter. We recognize and appreciate each other's good intentions. Oh, they may heckle me, but I know that I can heckle them and they'd still show up with chicken soup.

Oh, and to answer Topor's question - I struggle to balance being an instructor (lessons graded) and completing a dissertation (words written) that will qualify me to become a professor. There's great immidiate satisfaction in moving an essay into the "graded" pile and I am fond of getting a regular paycheck. On the other hand, the number of lessons graded per day, be it one or a hundred, gets me no closer to having Dr. in front of my name. Thus I try to keep a daily record of any "progress" made as I head closer to - er - the great cliff that is the academic profession.

Words Written: zero
Lessons Graded: eleven


Don said...

My next door neighbor is a close friend, but we are worlds apart politically.

Usually when a hot issue occurs, we'll both be in the backyard, see each other and say, "Can you believe...."

usually, we're irritated about the same issue, but on completely opposite sides of the issue.

torporific said...

Ah, ok. It appears that you haven't written any words in quite some time.

I wish I were a professor, too. I teach one college class regularly (ok, well, er, community college) but I think I may go to school again.

I am not sure what political leanings my neighbors have except for one. I live on the southside of town and in an area that votes conservatively. I have recently moved here so I haven't really met many of them.

The family across the street has a Bush/cheney sign hanging in their garage. I hate them. I don't know them but I do. I took their mail to them once and they weren't very friendly, so that and their bushbacking are reasons enough. I was willing to give them a chance, but everyone needs a nemesis and now I have one.

lemming said...

"haven't written in quiet some time" - this is like telling a non-pregnant woman that she's gained twenty pounds.

My dignity out of the way, you're right; I haven't written anything since mid-April and it kills me. I need another three hours for each day.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I know the political views of any of my neighbours. We're far more likely to discuss the weather than discuss politics around here...


torporific said...

Sorry about that. I just keep noticing this

"Words Written: zero"