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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Won't you be my neighbor?

Searching for the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" theme song on YouTube to accompany this blog title, I stumbled upon his final goodbye on the show. This was one of the iconic shows of my childhood and I'm grateful to have had educational TV like this, "Reading Rainbow" and "Sesame Street" available on public television. Too many young people then and now grow up on a steady diet of Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon that has no real benefit.

That said -- support public television. It's one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children. (Wow, yesterday I was going on about the library, today it's public television. I AM getting old.)

Anyway, wiping away tears from the above video, back to the reason for this post. Neighbors. We all have 'em. They may live in the next apartment over, separated from you by a two-foot thick wall; they might be a few miles away across fields; but they're around no matter what.

If you're lucky, you have a good relationship with your neighbors. Maybe you're friends who like to share dinner occasionally and spend evenings chatting on the porch. Or perhaps they're just the closest person to leave a spare house key with and trust to watch your pets & plants while you're on vacation.

Either way, you hope to have a positive relationship with your neighbors.

My school provides on-campus housing for its teachers. There are two campuses and while the majority of teachers work at my campus, a handful work at the other school. Even though people naturally form cliques, everyone gets along and hangs out in big groups once in a while. 

Except for one of my hallmates. We live on the same floor and, guys, there are only four apartments on our floor. He works at the other campus so we've never interacted much but for some reason, he is beyond rude to me and our other hallmates. 

When I see him (like this morning) walking down the stairs as I go up, I always smile and say "hi." Nothing. Not a nod, not eye contact -- nothing to acknowledge that there's been a noise, much less that he's been directly spoken to.

I don't get it. He's had arguments with the other guy on our floor (who I AM friends with) so maybe he assumes we've all ganged up against him but whatever the case is, I've never been treated so rudely by someone on a constant basis. Everyone talks about what a snob this guy is -- believing that because he speaks fluent Korean, he's somehow superior to us -- but to completely ignore that his hallmates' existences.... 

After the incident this morning, I wanted to shout after him: "What's your problem? Why are you such a jerk?" 

But, of course, I just let my rage seethe inside and watched him walk away.

Seriously, man, what's your problem? I've never said three words to you beyond, "Hey, what's up?" and yet you refuse to even admit that I exist. You're not going to get very far in life if you continually think you're above everyone. Being alone and friendless doesn't make you superior -- it makes you a loser. 

Rant over. 

Official countdown to Australia: 3 days