I have a neighbor named Beverly, a petite African American woman in her late 50s or 60s, who works with handicapped adults. She is a humble, kind, and extremely genuine human being. Sometimes I see her walking to the train station early in the morning, and I give her a ride. When my brother is here, he does the same thing. When I went out of town for a week over Christmas, she watched my three cats for me. She is a really good neighbor.

When I lived in Iceland, I remember feeling ill at ease with most of the people living in the same block as me (except of course my friend Ko-leen). I never had any idea what I was supposed to talk to them about, and I resented the feeling that they knew more about who I was and what I was doing in Reykjanesbær than I knew about them. I was trained by the American suburban living experience of the 1980s, where one does one's best to never speak to the neighbors unless there is an entirely practical and logical reason to do so.

Perhaps my time in Iceland partially cured me of that phobia, at any rate living in Iceland certainly gave me the feeling that all of us human beings are a part of a community, whether we recognize it or not. And now, at 40 years old, I have finally started to get comfortable with the idea of having a neighbor. A neighbor who knows what is going on in my life, and who feels comfortable knocking on my door at 6am, asking for a ride to the hospital. Thankfully, my brother was here that morning, and he heard the knock and happily took her. I stopped by her apartment yesterday, to see how she was feeling. It seemed to be the neighborly thing to do.


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