A strange thing is happening. I’m starting to feel like a regular in my neighborhood.
Well of course I’m a regular in my neighborhood, you say. I live there.
What I’m trying to say is that the people who work in the area where I live are starting to recognize me and say hello when I’m out and about on the streets near my house.
It’s like a warm and fuzzy small town feeling where everyone knows and greets each other, minus the small town gossip and with part of the big city replacing the small town.
There’s the guy who works in the food place down the street whom I run into while he’s doing food deliveries on his scooter. He always smiles and says hi. I usually see him on the street, but the last time I saw him we were both waiting in the same hospital waiting room for a doctor’s visit.
The lady who works in the library remembers me and my last name (since I lost my library card she’s had to punch in my name by hand every time I take something out).
A couple times last week I ran into one of the two cashiers who works in a small supermarket right around the corner from my house. He looked pleased to see me and said hello. I was kind of embarrassed to find out that he recognized me because since that supermarket is on the expensive side, I only go there for toilet paper, frozen french fries, and chocolate.
There’s also the owner of a nearby bar, the gal from the photo store, and the lady who works at the copy place.
OK so it’s not a very impressive list, to say nothing of close relationships. I don’t even know these people’s names. But my point is that it’s nice to feel a sense of belonging and feel a part of the neighborhood’s goings-on.
This isn’t just an Italian phenomenon, but it’s new for me personally since this didn’t happen to me when I lived in New Jersey.
Here in Torino, when I food shop or run (most) errands, I leave my house and walk somewhere in the vicinity. In the suburb in which I lived in New Jersey, there was nothing within walking distance of my house, and if I did venture out of the neighborhood on foot, I was met with a busy road without pedestrian crosswalks. Therefore in order to run errands I got in my car and drove somewhere, often leaving my own town, and once I arrived, the experience was more impersonal.
So that’s that.
It’s too bad I’m about to move again.