miwahni (miwahni) wrote,

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Cue the theme music for Neighbours

Driving past a minor traffic accident today, seeing all the local residents gathered in little groups on the footpath, I began to wonder if that's the only time we really come together as a community of any sort these days - in times of accident or tragedy. How many people know more than their immediate neighbours? And the bigger the city, the easier it is to be anonymous and isolated.

I once lived in a little country town, population 600. It wasn't possible to just pop down the street for a loaf of bread; any such chore took at least an hour, as you had to stop for a chinwag with everyone you met. Even people you didn't know would nod and smile as you passed. It was... nice, for want of a better word.
There was no such thing as anonymity there. This could be a double-edged sword; on the one hand, all your neighbours knew what you were doing. On the other hand, your home could never be burgled without half a dozen calls to the police from concerned neighbours. I always thought the good outweighed the bad.
There was also no such thing as fast food, other than the greasy fish&chip shop in the centre of town, that also did a roaring back room trade in special videos. The shop owner's nickname of Porno Pam was well-deserved!
The nearest Woolworths supermarket was a 40 minute drive north, and even in that bustling regional centre (population ten times that of my town, at 6000) there was no franchise fast food outlet. One had to drive a good hour southwest, on a twisty, unsealed road that hugged the side of a mountain, to the nearest major town to find a KFC or Pizza Hut. Maccas was even further; Dubbo was a whole day's outing there and back. (Nowadays, mind, I wouldn't walk across the road for the stuff.)
But I digress. Have we really progressed that far, when the Golden Tits adorn every shopping mall but we don't know the people next door?

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