Yesterday I was out cutting the grass, as it’s been about a month and even though none of it gets regular watering, it does grow in patches and needs tending once in a while. So there I was, with the human-powered push mower, when one of our neighbors approached. I’d not met this person, even though he lives nearby. After brief introductions, he asked if he could borrow the mower for his tiny patch of backyard grass. I said sure and told him I’d bring it to his house once I was finished with our lawn.
I don’t know if it’s an L.A. thing, or if the whole world has gotten to this point, but neighbors don’t often borrow from one another. Maybe expensive tools aren’t the sort of thing you’d want to lend, or maybe there’s a safety factor. But borrowing from a neighbor isn’t limited to tools. Hell – if I’m in the middle of baking and run out of sugar, I don’t think twice about knocking on my neighbor’s door, though I believe that makes me an oddity in this day and age. (Baking makes me an oddity, in and of itself.) And when I have asked a neighbor for in-the-moment help, I’ve repaid them in kind. It’s what you do. But I have to admit – I’ve been on the other side of that equation and I’ve known neighbors who are users. More than once, a neighbor has asked to borrow something (like say, ketchup) and they’ve taken a full container, only to return a near-empty container. And no replacements were ever offered. Those are the types of neighbors who take advantage, and that’s not cool. (Those are also the types of neighbors who will break your shit and claim it was like that when they borrowed it. Fool me once, asshole…)
But back to yesterday. This neighbor said he’d probably need the mower for all of 5 minutes and he didn’t lie. He returned it promptly and all was well. I’m happy to have been able to help. And if anyone knocks on my door, needing a cup of sugar, I’ll oblige that request, too. Good grown-ups make good neighbors. Where we live, I endeavor to be just that – a good grown-up. A good neighbor. All the way around.