The other day I put out three small bags of trash. I have to put them outside or else my dog will undo them. I was going to take them out when I walked her. When I went to bring them and her out I only counted two bags. I was sure I put three out. I wondered, “Did one of my neighbors take out my trash?”
Later I confirmed that yes and found out who. How sweet. To do something easy and thoughtful. That’s what I expected at cohousing. I didn’t really find that. There was the usual – condolences for losses but that was it. It was actually more of the opposite.
I expected thoughtful neighbors but was appalled. One neighbor let their dog pee on one of my lawn ornaments right in front of me. And said nothing. I didn’t say anything because I let a lot slide since I wanted to be nice and friends for life there. Now I”m pissed (Pun intended).
The few times I lent my car out, the neighbors didn’t park it where I asked. Sometimes the borrower didn’t return the key and I had to hunt it down. Simple courtesies like that. Another time, before we all moved in, I leant my apartment to an out of town guest and had to drive all over to hunt down the key so I could get back in. I thought that wasn’t very nice but, again, let it slide thinking I’ll just have to get used to things like that so we’d all get along in the greater good. Now I know it was a red flag and that particular family caused problems for many people (and are now leaving).
I had high expectations for living in an intentional community. Now I have no expectations and am pleasantly surprised and touched by wonderful neighbors.