Making the transition from the Big Apple to a smaller place requires some serious adjustment:
In New York, you can make yourself socially invisible by the unspoken code of avoiding eye contact with other pedestrians and even with your neighbors, who generally understand, but in a place like this, where so few people are out walking, it would seem rude to try to avoid conversations with neighbors and passersby. At times, I’ve tried to go out of my way to avoid talking to people. Last week, however, I realized I was being a little ridiculous when, on my way home from somewhere, I could see my across-the-street neighbor (who, incidentally, sold us our homeowners’ insurance) doing yard work from half a block away. In order to avoid having to talk to him, I made a turn instead of keeping straight, walked to the next block, and tried to determine whether there was some secret passageway into my backyard through someone else’s. When it was clear that I would have to hack my way through a sheer wall of hedges, I gave up, and walked back to my own street. My neighbor came across the street to talk to me, and we actually had quite a pleasant chat.
Most of our traffic is automotive, there being a most lamentable lack of sidewalks, but this time of year we tend to see an upsurge in runners, children on bicycles, and dog-walkers. It seems only reasonable to acknowledge their presence, though I have to admit that the first few months I was here, I wasn’t really up to it.