Where I come from, your neighbours are your best friends. When you’re little, the neighbour kids are your only friends. When you’re older, they’re the people that you can always count on to pick up your mail and take care of your plants while you’re on vacation. They mow their grass at the same time as you so your lawns connect flawlessly. You can borrow their flour when you’re baking cookies and you realize you have none. You can print things off at their houses when your printer breaks down. Basically, neighbours are always there in case your life isn’t running as smoothly as you would like it to.
HOWEVER, Toronto neighbours are an entirely new species of neighbour. I moved in to a new place this September and I still have no idea who most of my neighbours are.
I don’t know their names or who lives in each apartment. The only time I get to talk to them is when we happen to take the elevator at the same time… which is also rare.
One time, I had a craving for vanilla pudding… which happens from time to time. I started making the pudding and realized that I don’t own an electric mixer. I knocked on a door where I could hear people talking inside. Nothing. I knocked again. Nothing. I heard some shuffling and I’m pretty sure they looked out the peek hole to see me standing there…. No answer. It grew awkwardly quiet inside their apartment so I went down the hall to a neighbour that I recognize – but still don’t know the name of. Her husband answered the door and it was obvious that I just woke him up. It was only 7 p.m.
I awkwardly asked if they had an electric mixer.
“We don’t make cakes,” he said. Okay then. I went back to my apartment.
I ended up dumping the pudding mix and milk into my roommate’s blender and just blending it…when there was a knock on my door. The guy’s wife was there, holding an electric mixer and smiling. This was the first friendly neighbour action that I’d experienced while in Toronto and I was ecstatic! “Thank you so much!” I told her and took the mixer. The pudding was already made (which actually, surprisingly, turned out perfectly) but I didn’t care. I had a mixer that my neighbour had given me to borrow and it now felt like I had a REAL neighbour. I cleaned the mixer for them, even though I didn’t use it. I made them treats on New Year’s Eve. I absolutely LOVE neighbours.