Compared to Los Angeles, where for a good while when we said "neighbors" what we really meant was "drug dealing gang members next door," this is Pleasantville.
Actually, our move to the house couldn't have come at a better time. I had just accepted a new job two weeks before, and the week after we made the offer, surprise! we found out one of our three spacious new bedrooms would have to be a nursery. Beyond that, Noah had been on the streets enforcing law and fighting crime for just a couple of months by the time we got the house. And being alone at night in an occasionally sketchy apartment complex with a puppy whose bladder was the size of an acorn was shaping up to be a problem. When we finally signed the papers on the house, I was so excited I nearly vomited in the bushes outside the Realtor's office (thanks in part to fetal Ethan).
Although we don't have block parties or anything, we actually do know many of our neighbors by name. We chat over our fences, let our dogs play together, and knock on each others' doors to visit now and then. When I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance one night when Ethan was only two months old (did you know that a severely defunct gallbladder can simulate a heart attack?), a neighbor came right over and volunteered to take care of him until Noah's parents could arrive. And I didn't have one iota of disquiet about it.
In fact, on many occasions our neighbors stepped in, caring for me and/or Ethan as the need arose, no matter the hour of the day. And for that, I am truly grateful that we chose this house. My heart warms at the thought of the lovely Venezuelan couple who sold it to us, because they as original owners helped develop our neighborhood's friendly and generous atmosphere.
But I also hope they never come back. They would be horrified at the thin layer of shedded dog fur covering what were once gleaming laminate floors.