Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Community: Borrowing an Egg

I remember being a kid and my mom sending me down the street to borrow an egg from a number, or a neighbor calling and needing to borrow a half cup of oil, or some other missing ingredient from a recipe.

This evening, I got home from work and began making some dinner for my wife and I.

I began mixing up some quick banana bread (a recipe that only needed to cook for 20 minutes, and I was tired of looking at the frozen bananas in the freezer). Yet after I defrosted the bananas, mashed them up with milk, oil, egg, brown sugar and salt, I realized we were out of flour.

I had cut the recipe in half, and I only needed one cup of flour...and yet I was helpless but to run to the grocery store quickly before dinner, either that or let the mush sit out and probably be tossed.

In a way it's weird to think about my mom borrowing and lending eggs, oil, yeast, or whatever was requested. Namely, because in that moment, I was certainly too proud to acquaint myself with a neighbor for a cup of flour.

In the same way, I don't even know any neighbors around me enough to feel free to ask a simple request.

Perhaps it's apartment living, perhaps it's the lack of bonding that may (or may not) come with having children playing, perhaps our societies increasingly isolated. I don't really know.

But it's kind of sad.

I wish my neighbor's would knock on our door when they needed something.


b13 said...

You should start the trend. I have great neighbors and we always bring dinner offerings when we make our signature dishes.

This past Christmas I wasn't feeling well and my wife went to visit my family while I stayed home to recuperate. I didn't know that my wife saw my neighbor as she was leaving and mentioned I was sick. That evening, I got a knock on my door and was surprised to see him with a tupper-ware full of baked ziti, meatballs, and garlic bread.

I know that not all neighbors are this kind, but when you find them you want to keep them.

Paula said...

Re-watch "Pieces of April" and then go borrow some flour!

I think part of the problem is that none of us in our society want to be indebted to anyone, to seem "in need". (I'm not saying that about you personally...)What if the neighbours think you are...gasp...POOR????

The worst-case scenario is that they say "no". And even then you've had a little adventure, so it's a no-lose situation.

Kimberly said...

It also could be that our neighbors are 18 and never home and the other 18 year olds just moved out because school is out for the summer :-)

I could totally be off, but I imagine that when we get a house we will have the neighbor experience. My family was always friendly with our neighbors. I specifically recall when my parents lived on a culdesac and everyone was very good friends and we would block off our circle with cones about once a month and have a "Circle Party" by bringing everyone's grill's in the street and cooking out together.

Kelly said...

A very interesting and spot on post.

jasdye said...

i miss those 'good neighborly' days (wonderful pic, btw).

we're trying to hold a bbq for the downstairs neighbors so that we can become good neighbors with them (and in the not-so-altruistic hope that they can be more generous to our daughter and not slam doors, drunk-yell into the alley and smoke pot downwind from her crib).

lulu01 said...

Borrowing the egg is sometimes the icebreaker you need to begin to get to know your neighbors.......just as the case with this site most of my neighbors and I belong to www.householdnetwork.com. We created a Network of neighbors where we list things we are willing to loan to each other. How else would someone know that I have a bunch of tools, or stuff in the garage or basement that might be useful to them on a short term basis. I even get a call or email from a neighbor that I don't know at all asking to borrow my extra wine glasses for a party. It breaks the ice and now I know a new neighbor.
Check it out. You never know.

pisalisa said...

i have one neighbor that just comes over and asks for one egg. just one.
but the things is, we know him and his family well so it's not like he's breaking any ice...
it's just weird because he does this alot and we never mind, it's just ONE egg every time he comes. i always give him 2. but i think it was just wierd he never asks for anything else other than that.

Viki Xavier. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Actually i don't like it if it happens in a regular basis.This summer I met a woman in my neighborhood who speaks my mother tongue , smiling and good but very very stingy. I gave her a dinner ,but she never invited me back. More over she has a bad habit of borrowing things from me. She keep on asking me my kitchen utensils or indirectly asking some free grocery.Grocery prices in US are going up and no body can afford to give free grocery . Her husband is in a good job and she is not in any financial struggle, but both are soooo stingy . I really wonder how to avoid her. I showed my face many times but she is nagging me as if nothing has happened. I can't bear some one coming and asking me 'hi , I am making a cake and I don't have butter '. Its really crazy. she visits me often. Unfortunately I cannot get rid of her.What can I do to make her realize her mistakes. Or how can I put an end to this menace.

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