Something interesting happened to me yesterday.
I was on Facebook and a Facebook Messenger chat popped up, as it often does several times a day.
The first thing I usually do is click directly on the name and check the person out on her Facebook profile page, to help my conversation.
The face looked familiar.
After the initial frivolities, she acknowledges what I have been doing with our Facebook community and how she has been following my activities.
She: I’m your neighbor in the estate.
Me: Wow, that’s nice! Which part of the estate do you stay?
She drops the bombshell.
She’s not my ‘neighbor in the estate’.
We live opposite one another.
As in, if you closed the road between us; our houses will kiss one another.
AND I DIDN’T KNOW HER NAME, until yesterday.
Now its etched in my brain like a soldering iron on a cows skin.
We’ve been neighbors for 11 years.
You read that right.
Our paths have crossed a few times: our kids once went to the same school within the estate and we would acknowledge one another during pick up and drop off.
We met once in a clinic within the estate too; spoke for…maybe 10 mins.
We don’t have an hour of conversation between us; scratch that, 30 mins.
In 11 years.
I have been wrecked with guilt since yesterday; its not a justifiable situation.
How many opportunities to be of support to one another have we missed?
How many times has she needed something I could help with and didn’t even know; and vice versa?
If I can stand on my balcony, but for the trees; I can see inside her house (I’m on a higher ground in the estate); and yet I can’t recognize her kids if I see them.
It is BAD!
No nice way to put it.
I pride myself in not having a wide circumference of friends, but that’s no excuse.
See where we meet: on Facebook.
How many people around you should you know but don’t even acknowledge?
How often do you lift your head from your phone or laptop to stretch out your hand to the person next door, or just smile?
What happened to the days when our mothers would cook and send the neighbors their portions?
My mother would make an entire pot of stew or egusi soup and send to her neighbor.
Almost 40 years after, they are closer than sisters.
My honest desire, would be to go knocking on all the doors of houses on my street and asking their names and exchanging numbers and hugging them and saying….I’m sorry.
But I will be considered insane: in today’s world.
I’m going to make a conscious effort going forward to be more friendly to my neighbors at work and at home.
And be much more aware of people in my surroundings.
Like my mum will say: if you think no one is watching you, get someone to come and ask people in your neighborhood what you wore to work this morning.
You’ll be shocked.
We’re actually all one piece of a large puzzle.