A few months ago, my husband and I were having a conversation about how there is no real community anymore. He’s right. There isn’t. Communities, in the sense of who you live in a geographical area with, don’t exist anymore. We have online communities, organizational communities, service communities, but we don’t have neighborhood or town communities where people have the common goal of just trying to help each other live to the best of their ability. Even in our neighborhood where we have less than 50 properties, our neighbors only know us because of our dogs and that I used to work at the convenience store down the street.
The reasons for this are numerous, but include fear-mongering by government and media forces, the super-convenience of everything, and the fact that technology has made it easy to avoid even the person sitting next to you, or that you share a bed with. There is also the simple fact that we were never meant to live in cities with thousands, if not millions of people. We are on overload and we feel empty.
One of the biggest differences I found when changing jobs a few months ago was a closer sense of that community in the new job. At the convenience store, while I got to know many of the customers, I was dealing with hundreds of people every day, some of whom I will never see again. With the new job, I only see a few hundred, and usually the same people all the time. I have the time to get to know my customers all of whom live in the neighborhoods close by. I get to know their families, their preferences, whether they are driving or not so I know how to bag their purchases. But even more than that, I get to see how many of them know each other. I get to see truly friendly conversations and people helping each other.
This isn’t a nice neighborhood that the store is in. It reminds me of the “hood” where I grew up (kinda feels like home), but I see more community in this small part of town than I have in many years. It’s the kind of community that gives me hope for the rest of the world.