Sat around with your neighbors lately?

neighbors

How different would communities be if the neighbors all sat down together to relax and talk for an hour or so- say, once a month? Once a week? In the Miri marina, there’s a nightly bring-your-chair-and-beverage gathering at the end of Dock B.

the marina speakeasy
We didn’t solve the world’s problems, but we speculated about the marina’s illicit gambling den, shared  great stories, and helped each other from our diverse knowledge base while the sun set. As is the way of stateless sailors around the world, we fast tracked building our own community. During this week in Miri, Jamie and I were the lone Americans in a group of Aussies, but the makeup shifts with the boats that come and go.

sv Ceil
We learned about each other, and where we’re from, about our different priorities and views. Frank questions about our country asked with the innocence of outsiders, lightened from the biased weight of domestic media.

Miri evenings

Mostly, though, we enjoyed the shared brotherhood of cruisers, making fast friends we may never see again. These swiftly formed but fleeting communities can take some getting used to, but are an element of cruising I have come to love. Besides the enjoyment of the present, there is the promise of the future, and the hope that we will be surprised with a familiar place in a new anchorage.

Cruising life aside, though- taking the time to sit around with our neighbors is one of those lessons we’ll take away if a fixed point of land ever steals us back. This ritual feels lost in the artificial busyness of modern life. When was the last time you sat around with your neighbors, with no agenda except to pass the time pleasantly and get to know each other a little better?

8 Responses to Sat around with your neighbors lately?

  1. horizonstar August 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    You mean you actually sat around with no television set on? What is the world coming too?

    Funny how it seems the only real conversations that I have any more are with people I meet while delivering yachts. Having been fired from two jobs for voicing political opinions that didn’t fit in the tunnel vision of my “superiors”, I don’t go there anymore—.

  2. Mid-Life Cruising! August 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    The socialization that you mention is one of the many things we look forward to when we start cruising next year. We barely speak to our very nice neighbors, and we rarely get together with friends because we’re all too busy …

  3. Normandie Ward Fischer August 15, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    I think this is much more prevalent when cruising foreign countries. On our trip up the ICW this summer, we’ve rarely found the same sort of openness. And we speak to everyone!

    • Behan Gifford August 15, 2013 at 7:51 am #

      I think you’re right, Normandie- although we found pockets in the US (remembering the weekly potluck including many liveaboards at the marina in Ventura, California). Maybe regional? We made it our institute the gathering at the marina where we lived for a year in Sydney.

  4. Victoria Marton August 15, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    Two thoughts as I enjoy your blog post:
    1. “Frank questions about our country asked with the innocence of outsiders, lightened from the biased weight of domestic media.” is something I so long for here in the U.S.
    2. “When was the last time you sat around with your neighbors, with no agenda except to pass the time pleasantly and get to know each other a little better?” You’ve inspired me to send an invitation to my neighbors with this quote of the cover (with credits), inviting them to a dinner on our porch.
    Thank you so very, very much for allow me to live vicariously and become inspired by your blog posts.

    • Behan Gifford August 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Victoria, I love that you have invited your neighbors for a porchside dinner. I wish I lived in the ‘hood!

  5. Owen Borseth October 26, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    Kind of funny. We live at the end of a street in Denver and our neighbors frequently pull tables and chairs out into the middle of the road to partake in beverages and conversation. We joke that people walking by must wonder what’s going on. Its pretty unique to our neighborhood I think because I’ve never before lived in a place that does it.

    • Behan Gifford October 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Owen, you’re a lucky man. 🙂

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