Hanging out in a car waiting for my wife to return from a patient visit can look awfully suspecious to the people in the neighborhood. Of those who notice me, about 80% of them will inquire about why I’m there. I only need to mention the first or last name of the patient, my wife’s occupation, and the inquiring person’s face will light up and welcome me to the neighborhood. Some people invite me in to their conversation; some people suggest better locations for me to park the car; some people tell me they thought I was a “look-out” for someone stealing their valuables; but all seem to know the patient by name. (I know it’s hard to tell, but the last sentence is was the topic of the paragraph.) They go to the effort to make me feel better/safe about waiting for my wife in the car.

To contrast neighborhoods… I live in a small gated 15 townhome community in the Lower Greenville area. We are made up of white, black, and asian origins. However, we don’t know everyone in our own comminity unlike the people in the less affluent areas of Dallas.

Growing up in The Grove (Pleasant Grove, a suburb of Dallas,) I knew only 3 of my closest neighbors. I didn’t actually talk to the next door neighbor family; I was too scared of them. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the names of the neighbors 3 houses down.

When I lived in the Gaston Yard Apartments in Deep Ellum, I made a point to meet the guy living across from me but no one else seemed interested in a neighborly friendship.

Most of Gaston Yard Apartments were made up of white residents as was my street in Plesant Grove back in the 70’s.

I guess what surprises me is that the black neighborhoods know just about all the people living in the area. If they don’t know Serena’s patient, then the patient is not living in the neighborhood any more. We are taught that a neighborhood who’s residents knows all the people has lessor crime, but these areas of town are wrought with crime. We have never had a major crime issue in my part of town… I hope I don’t jinx the track record by writing this.

Rob Stokes

The original location of this post is: http://blog.rdstokes.com/?p=239