Why knowing our neighbours is very important
By Mama and the City on June 14, 2013
t's 5:45pm on a typical, rainy day in Vancouver. I have to walk through the parking lot to get to my home unit, which is at the end of the complex. As I feel the cool wind on my face and my hand shakes as it tries to keep its grip on the umbrella, I hear a strange voice yelling "LYNDA!"
"LYNDAAAA!" Very close to me. Loud.
I thought someone was calling me bonita - pretty, linda - in Spanish. I turned around and I couldn't see anyone. Understandable. I mean, who wants to stand in the rain to call women names?
I kept walking...
That voice! Where's it coming from?
I kept walking...
I stopped. Nothing.
I turned left. Silence.
I turned right. Whew, the voice wasn’t in my head. But oh my God, who is that on the ground!?!?!
There was a man lying on the grass, facing down and yelling Lyyyyndaaaaa at the door of a townhouse three units down from mine. There were a couple of white blankets by his side, getting soaked, and he wasn’t doing much better. One of his shoes lay a couple of metres away, lonely and sopping wet in the muck.
"LYNDAAAA", he kept yelling. I remained standing there, right in the middle of the parking lot, in the rain, not quite sure what to do.
"SIR, ARE YOU OKAY?" I yelled from my safe distance.
Did he just ignore me? Fine. He can die wet and alone for all I care.
Was he drunk and yelling at the wrong door?
Or was he a cheater!? Maybe he got kicked out of his house, and Lynda wasn’t about to let him in.
"SIR? DO YOU NEED HELP?" I found myself inquiring again.
I walked towards him, getting closer and closer. He started crawling with only one arm. Can this get any creepier? Regardless, I approached him and spoke this time: "Excuse me sir, do you need help?"
"Please, ring the bell," He croaked at me as he kept crawling towards the front door.
"But, do you live here sir?" I was seriously worried that he was just not in the right place. I remembered all the times my husband and I lamented the fact that we don’t know very many of our neighbours. But who does these days, right?
"I hit my head. I fell. My head." He frantically looked for something hanging from his neck, it was his set of keys on a lanyard. "Here, please, take them. These are my keys. Open the door."
This is when I thought it was real and serious so I rang the bell.
Fifteen seconds later the sound of steps came from behind the front door. As it opened, there she was, oblivious Lynda, showing nothing other than a mortified look by seeing her very old husband at her feet lying on the floor, with only one shoe and then me, standing right beside him.
"Hi. I found him on the front lawn lying down and yelling Lynda. Is that you?" That's all I managed to say.
The man, who I didn't even think of asking his name, thanked me as Lynda took him inside the house. Surprisingly she didn't. Thank me. Not a word.
She just looked at me funny, helped the man in and closed the door on me. I want to believe she was in shock and busy dealing with her ailing husband. If not, well, I'm not losing anything and that's cool.
But yeah, we should probably get to know our neighbours. Even Lynda.