My neighbor dropped by on Friday to “trade” these flowers for some of the cilantro from my garden. This is such a normal occurrence in my neighborhood that I take it for granted. I don’t think all neighbors are like this. We should be.

I like having neighbors who call to borrow an egg. Or a ladder. Or the proverbial cup of sugar. I know they won’t be bothered if I should call to borrow something tomorrow. My neighbors get irritated if they see us rent or buy something that they have. We feel irritated right back. You’re not supposed to rent that! we say to each other. I have a rototiller (ladder, hedge trimmer)! Just borrow it next time.

We live in a tiny cul de sac, just a handful of houses very close together. I’d love to say that we always get on famously and never quibble, but that’s also what neighbors are for. We’re all loud at inconvenient times. Our dogs run away into each other’s yards. We sometimes overlap in uncomfortable ways. My leaves blow on your lawn; your leaf blower breaks the blessed silence. We learn to be tolerant (we HAVE to be tolerant!), and to rely on each other. You watch my kids; I listen to you vent about yours. (And vice versa.) You bring me flowers; I pick a fragrant bouquet of cilantro for you to take home across the street. It’s just being neighborly. Wouldn’t it be nice if the “neighborhood” didn’t end at the bottom of the street?

Isn’t it nice to have good neighbors? Do you live in a neighborhood like mine?