Monday, August 07, 2006

Nebby in the City

One of the stranger things about living in the city is how much you know about your neighbors just by living next door.

Since moving to a row house on a dead end street, I've really become aware (and sometimes self-conscious) of what my neighbors know that I will never tell them. Some examples are:
(1) How late you get home
(2) How often you leave town
(3) How often you go grocery shopping or shopping in general
(4) Who you invite to dinner--which neighbors you invite to dinner
(5) Who sleeps over
(6) If you have a fight with your spouse

There are many more things that are obvious to nearby neighbors. And since living here I've learned to argue differently, consider shopping less and many other little things that are wrapped up mostly in what the neighbors will think. (Sometimes this can be a good thing-like learning new ways to argue.)

Pittsburgh has a word for this. Nebby. I never heard this word before moving here and now it is part of the vocabulary. I don't even know if I spell it correctly. However, nebby means nosy and in the city, it is really hard to escape nebbiness, either as giver or receiver.

With all of that said...

This morning at 6am, an ambulance and fire truck arrived for our immediate neighbors. This has happened many times since we moved in three years ago. The oldest boy has severe seizures and every so often he is taken to the hospital. This morning I worried as I considered that he most likely woke up with a seizure and that it must have been loud enough for someone else to hear and wake up as well. (But not so loud that we could hear the commotion.)

Trying not to be a nebby neighbor, I abandoned my post and went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face, got dressed. When they left, I was unsure if he had be taken along or not. But when they arrived again around 11am today, I knew he did not go to the hospital earlier this morning. He went the second time.

It's hard to know what to do. And I am sure that many of the Mennonites reading this are thinking, "you could take them a meal." And I could. But it is still hard to know what to do. This is something that this family has dealt with for years now. In July, he spent a week in the hospital having his meds readjusted and then monitored. Does this mean they are not working? Who knows. I just hope that he is okay.

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