Neighbors will come and go in some neighborhoods. Other neighbors, stay and live to a ripe old age.

Or after years of turning their garden over, they sell their home to turn it into a cash crop.

Some neighbors talk about their plans and leave notes in neighbors’ mail boxes to advise them of future property developments nearby. Some neighbors are ‘neighborly’ and others … are not.

In phoning my immediate neighbors recently, I inadvertently interrupted their computer time. Oops. Mea Culpa. I apologized … and they cut short their conversation to return to the computer … uh oh.

It is never a good time to phone anyone during the lockdown period who uses their computer line as their phone line. It makes their life difficult. Now we know … that was a lesson learned.


Occasionally, some people cannot tear themselves away from the computer screen … It’s called in some parts of the world by the term”screen-sucking”. It literally means being stuck to the scroon (computer screen or television screen).

It’s important to remember: some neighbors don’t like being interrupted on their landline phone number.

But, I’ll bet that, in the long run, the occasional interruption is a good thing.

Sometimes, we have to telephone. We hope the receiver of the phone call will try to understand the reason why we made an effort to be in touch by telephone.

I’d recently chatted with my neighbor at our adjoining mail boxes during the week, for about 10 seconds, on ‘neighbourhood issues’. Given COVID restrictions, we kept our talk of neighborly matters brief.

I later found out that it was not shared with me that a near neighbor’s house was about to be pulled down. I learnt through the experience of ‘walking around the block’ that the fencing around that other neighbor’s house and the tiles off that roof of theirs did not mean a replacement roof and new garden.

Conversations by telephone

So, my phone call had a purpose. Phoning was a useful exercise in that I checked to make sure that my neighbors did know that the house next door to their back garden was to become a ‘tear-down’.  In these pandemic times, not every neighbor is leaving their home to walk to the local park.

Local media extoll the public-spirited virtues of being in touch with our neighbors and friends for social ecological reasons. Having tried that several times in the past few months, I think the results of my efforts are probably too early to tell.

At work, we spend time online and meeting others virtually via webinars. It’s as if we have universally decided that online communication exists permanently in our work life.  We are used to assisting with projects and discussing the whys and wherefores of technical or strategic matters by verbal communication online.

Every neighbor is different

My neighbors, who live either side, might not live the same life as my household.

That is to say, they might not be aware of why it is important to be socially-minded during a pandemic … and communicative. If they are aware, maybe they have difficulties in sharing?

It’s not just me who’s thinking this. I’m reminded of this situation by an article in The Canberra Times entitled ‘How you can help friends and neighbours stuck in isolation’.*

It is important to stay updated and aware of changes in lockdown measures. The following live links might help:

Department of Health
Department of Home Affairs
COVID-19 Resources
Smartraveller Travel Advice
Information for International Travellers.

The information which the organizations provide via these links might happily help to ease your life through this temporary pandemic situation. Have a good day.

* For further information, see 17 August 2021 article by Amy Martin of The Canberra Times.

Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds 2021.
Text uploaded 20 August 2021.
Photographic image copyrighted by Fiona Rothchilds 2021.

Tags: neighbour, neighbourhood, neighbourly, lockdown, COVID, pandemic, conversation, health, The Canberra Times, neighbors, neighborhood, neighborly.