Is it a cop-out to leave the neighborhood?

Posted by barb on Nov 3, 2004 in Random Thoughts |

If I lived in a neighborhood for a while, and one day some new neighbors move in across the street with three old junker cars, five dogs and a heap of junk metal, what would I do? First I might call the city to see if there are any ordinances against that many dogs or that much junk in a person’s yard. But I quickly find out that these people are good friends with the city counsel. In fact, their connections go up to the top — to the mayor. Worse still, neighbors start calling me un-neighborly for even questioning that things might be wrong with the neighborhood.

So next I erect a privacy fence to block my view of the neighbors. But, the next thing I know, there are two more new neighbors, both with several junker cars scattered in their lawns and animals running amok in the neighborhood. Every time I drive on my street I’m forced to look at the eyesores popping up in half of my neighbors’ lawns.

I like some of my neighbors just fine — we’ve lived together for a long time, and even had several block parties and game nights. But the neighborhood is going downhill. The worst part is that only a few of us seem to think that the junker cars, piles of junk metal and the zoo of animals is a problem. A few children get hurt playing in their parents’ heaps of junk, but this new information doesn’t change anyone’s mind about the safety of the neighborhood. Sanity and common sense have left the neighborhood.

Surrounding neighborhoods start to shun us as “that neighborhood with all the junk,” and they won’t even drive through anymore. I start to find that friends from across the city don’t want to come over to my house anymore. “It’s just too hard to get into your neighborhood, and frankly there’s not much there that I can’t find at home,” they say.

I wouldn’t stay in that neighborhood for long. Why would I? There are many other places in the city to live; places where people have more sense.

I know that I’m priviledged to have been born in this particular neighborhood, but the it has gotten too trashy too quickly. I like some of my neighbors, but too many others have let the place go. Perhaps it’s time to give another neighborhood a chance.

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