Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some surprises we can do without

We all like an uplifting surprise now and again - but there's a time and a place for it.

The other day, we looked out our front door and discovered that our neighbours, who live not a very feeble stone's throw away, had moved out. Their array of bicycles and other bulky items (which we had huffed about in 'Too much, these cluttersome neighbours') were gone. Now, their use of our common lift landing as a storage space may not have been the most thoughtful move ever. But we had been on decent terms with our neighbours overall, chatting about childcare and comparing baby notes from time to time. Yet they had gone and simply vamoosed without so much as a 'Tootles'. Not that we are so hungry for any sort of social validation, but it seemed to say something about how people today don't much bother about niceties like 'giving advance notice'.

The same phenomenon reared its head a couple of days later, as Mum was picking Sonny up at the infant care centre. "We'll be closed two days from now," one of the staff members announced, as though she was telling Mum the time or wishing her top of the morning. Just like that. "Staff training, you see." So Mum had to scramble to secure a day's absence from work, since we have no reserve care-giver on tap. Would it have hurt the centre to give just a tad more advance notice? We ultimately tracked down a plain-text notice posted on a door several metres away. A little test of our powers of observation, perhaps.

Note that we're not advocating a society where spontaneity is frowned upon and where every action (whether popping round to a friend's for a cuppa or whisking a girlfriend away for a night on the town) needs to be endlessly telegraphed in advance. But there certainly are times when a little lag time is expected and very useful. We did learn later where our errant neighbours had gone off to: Their flat had grown too small for their expanding family so they had bought a larger place elsewhere.

We'd have liked to have been able to wish them well. Hopefully, they are settling in nicely.
Without being thrown off-guard by any nasty surprises.


Mumsgather said...

Well, I had to learn from my neighbours on my right that the neighbours on my left are selling their house and moving out. And the neighbours on my right learned from the real estate agents. And when we mentioned the move to my left neighbour's left neighbour, he was surprised that he didn't know too. And thats what you call neighbours in this day and age. No more visiting each other bearing cakes and gifts.

Cloudsters said...

Yes, we now have to plug into full-fledged spy networks to discover what the neighbour next door is up to. Sigh.