“Don’t tell them – they’ll probably want to sell up – but I actually LOVE my next-door neighbours. And next-door-but-one. Also next-door-but-two. The same for the other side and don’t get me started on those across the road. I love them all.
My emotions appear to be running high. Last night me and the neighbours met fleetingly on the street, like lots did across the UK, to applaud our beloved NHS workers. We clapped and whistled – at doors, on garden paths and in opened windows – for those carrying out brave, selfless and crucial work on the frontline of this crisis. Also to each other, we waved and shouted “hello” and I felt, for a little while afterwards, that frosty isolation had been wrapped snugly in the warm embrace of community.
At some point during this, I confess, a small salty tear MAY have slid silently down my cheek. Whether it’s down to an irrational, media-hyped fear of the virus taking us all out or simply the desperate lack of human contact, I sense that my emotions have the potential to properly embarrass me in the weeks ahead.
We should all be prepared to have the odd isolation-induced emotional meltdown but, to get through such a thing with sanity intact, we mustn’t suffer it alone. That’s where ‘knowing the neighbs’ is going to help. I’m really lucky that there’s already a couple of WhatsApp groups on my road: a general one and another with more immediate neighbours – a brilliant way to ask about anyone not seen or heard from for a while and also the source of much funny stuff that keeps us smiling through the worst of the news.
And when I admitted recently that something posted had actually scared the hell out of me and I felt pretty daft, neighbours jumped in to reassure that I wasn’t alone in this. If I hadn’t shared my fears and had them put into perspective by others, I’d probably be worrying about those fears still (only by now of course, left to do their own thing, they’d have magnified in my mind to gargantuan proportions).
Social media groups like these are one way we can preserve and strengthen our communities and ourselves through the quarantine. If you get the chance to chat/laugh/share with neighbours, whether you knew them well previously or hardly at all, take the chance and feel the love”.