Right now one of my neighbors is talking to another in that friendly "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" kind of way. She walked across the street and struck up a perfectly pleasant conversation with the elderly woman next door, but I am chagrined to discover that I am cowering in the house until she goes away. This is one of those embarrassing moments when I wish that I bought into the whole idea of "community," but facts be facts, and I often just want to be left alone. I help the elderly couple when I can (they never ask), and I wave my hello's to other neighbors, but really my disposition leans more towards the curmudgeon, I fear.

Which is really too bad, since my friend and I noticed that a woman across the street got herself knocked-up too. Wouldn't that be great if we created ourselves a little Mayberry RFD, made each other coffee in the morning and chatted while the rugrats tumbled on the lawn together like puppies? But I tend to be resistant, or shy, or maybe just a crank. Or maybe I've just been doing too much of that city livin,' and have a general, slightly paranoid fear of losing privacy.

Either way, as my neighbors wind up their pleasant chat next door, I am relieved that I don't have to make small talk for another day. Wretched or reasonable? I don't know, but my neighbor has trotted on to the next house to give her Thursday morning greetings. Must be a new "greet the neighbors" campaign she's created for herself.

I sit in the house, waiting until she passes by.