Regency heroes and heroines worry so much about what people will say if they do certain things: Get married, not get married, drive in a carriage alone with a person of the opposite sex, wear an inappropriate garment.
It must’ve been horribly claustrophobic. And yet–I realized the other day that I, too, am living in a fishbowl, and I have to watch what I do and say (although I am continuing to dampen my chemise, thanks very much!). See, I live in a semi-attached house, which means that there are houses rightnext to me on either side. Our neighbors are both lovely couples, thank goodness, and they have kids younger than my son, which means he gets to be all authoritatively older, and he likes that.
But I am on Twitter, as are the two husbands on either side of me. And we follow each other, which is kinda fun. But if I Twitter something–ahem–inappropriate, they know. Like when I talk about things that annoy me about romance novels, like size issues and such. Like that.
Or something that might be construed as too personal: One day, a few weeks ago, I wrote a Tweet that said, “One should not begin a huge fight at 11:45 in the evening.” Being wryly acerbic, as is my wont. The next day, the wife of one of the guys said she’d heard about it, not in a gossipy kind of way, but just in an ‘I’ve been there, too’ way. But it was weird (we fight very quietly, however, so she didn’t know what it was about).
So–what fun facts do you know about your neighbors? Have you ever been surprised by what they know about you? What are you hiding from them? Do you like or dislike social networks because of the scrutiny?
PS: yes, I have talked about the internet being like the ton before, clearly I am obsessed.
I live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. When I was in college I brought my roommate home for a weekend. She was from a big city and she thought I lived in a cult town. As we walked down the street people knew my name and where I was going to school and what I was studying and everything about me. She thought it was the strangest thing. And maybe it is, but I really don’t know anything different.
The one thing that always got me is there is a doctor in town who is cheating on his wife and EVERYONE knows it except the wife. Or perhaps the wife just ignores it. But the wife is such a nice person and I really want to smack this doctor in the face for not appreciating what he has. It reminds me a little of the ton and how wives were encouraged to look the other way at their husbands past times shall we call them.
And as far as size issues go in romances go….I totally agree…at least I think. Why do women always have to be so small and men so big? It’s really not a fantasy of mine.
The internet has definitely made the world a smaller place; not unlike a small town.
In my neighborhood, I think the kids know more than the adults. I don’t really want to know anything about my neighbors. What I do learn usually depresses me.
The same is true on the internet. Really, I feel as though I learn too much about people and events. But then I get easily depressed.
I know nothing about my neighbors. My next door neighbor’s sister was living with them for months before I knew it. I like my neighbors a lot and I know I can count on any of them if I need them, but we don’t really socialize and unless we’re outside at the same time, we know NOTHING.
What is interesting about small towns is the strong mythology that gets built up around individuals and families due to the repetition of gossip surrounding them.It’s almost like people aren’t allowed to change because it would screw up their place in the story.
That said, I like small towns and would like to live in one post-empty-nest.
Social networking sites are going to be the focus of many future social anthropology theses! I’m on Facebook now but am semi-careful. I’ve never been one to care too much what others think. Although I do hide my religion from my neighbors and landlords who live right behind us. That’s sad but that’s the way it is until I own my own house. They just think I have people over sometimes who like to stand in a circle and drum and sing. 🙂
I’ve joked that my neighbors on the cul-de-sac jot my comings and goings down in a notebook. They once remarked on the place I shop for groceries, so they must’ve watched me as I carried the bags in! But the upside is I always get a phone call when I’ve left the car lights on. And 4 years ago our other neighbors saw the fire start in my back yard under the power pole and called 911 when I wasn’t home! So, as much as my fellow humans can annoy me, we absolutely do need each other!
What I know about my neighbors would probably fit into a thimble but still shocks me. It’s a small town and I know way more than I know about my neighbors then when I lived in a condo.
They know lots more about me because I talk to much and I blog and I’m on twitter. My husband hates it because some of his friends wives follow me and it what I say comes back at awkward times. Eek.
If you want to hear about the neighbor to the south, I’m not saying anything here. One thing I’ve noticed around here is that people come out of their houses briefly in spring and fall (yardwork, leaves etc). In the summer we don’t see much of each other unless the power in the block goes out, in which case we all socialize in the front. And we hibernate in the winter.
Miss Austen, I bet that doctor’s wife knows and for or her own reasons, she’s not reacting.
LOL! I also live in a townhouse, connected on both sides to my neighbors, but I don’t know them very well. (The woman who used to live to the south was interesting–she played music VERY loud at 3 in the morning, had a myriad of boyfriends–including one whose clothes she once threw out the upstairs window so they all blew off down the street, and did yard work in a string bikini. But she moved away). Now I never hear much of anything from any neighbor, though I’m sure they’re fully aware of my love for ABBA songs while I clean.
It does seem the Internet is like a small town! (though I have never actually lived in a small town). Witness how fast rumors fly among the “small world” of romance writers/readers online, and how much we seem to know about people we may have never actually met
My dad is an Idaho farm boy, and my mom a New Yorker. East and West and never the twain shall meet. I find myself more comfortable with my Eastern cousins than with my Western cousins. That being said, my closest friends are from Florida, Wisconsin, California, New York, and Arizona. Actually, most of my friends are people I’ve met online. However, I’ve not joined Twitter, Facebook, or My Space, only a few select blogs. 🙂
I know most of my neighbors enough to say hello when I see them on the street. They know practically nothing about me, though when my dog passed a way many of them sent me sympathy cards. Bless them. We don’t interact a lot, but I know I could ask anyone of them for help in a pinch.
I live on a street in the country that is one mile long. What I like about it is the peace and quiet. There arn’t any cars zooming back and forth. I never get lonley because we have a very social out door dog and one very old cat that keep me company.
So, I don’t really know anything about my neighbors. I visit with friends in town and that is enough for me.
I live in a row house- which is Philadelphian for townhouse or semi-attached or all those other euphemisms. I know some about my neighbors and like the ones I know, but I’m pretty much of a stay-in type, especially in recent years.
In the summer we stay in a small town at the Jersey shore and get that “everyone knows everything” experience and I kind of like it.
My biggest Internet problem was when I found out my boss- who hates me- was stalking my blog, hoping to find something to fire me for. Since not my name, not his name, nor the name of the place I work ever appears on the blog- for the exact reason that he is one of those “The Internet is EVIL” types- he tried, but failed.
And, more than a year later, I am still blogging!
I don’t socialize with my neighbours much at all I always say hello and have a chat with them but that is about all. I have lived in the same house for 30 years and so have some of the neighbours and when our children were young we were all very close but not so much now.
But I do agree that the internet is a great place to catch up on gossip most of us and our kids are on facebooks so we find out what everyone is doing that way.
I live in an extremely small town and I do like it in spite of the fact that everyone knows everything about everyone. Actually I live outside the city limits on five acres off a dirt road. So my nearest neighbors are each about an acre or so away. I’ve known my neighbors for a long time, longer than I have lived here as I bought the property 16 years ago and just moved in permanently about 5 years ago. Their kids have grown up before my eyes because I see them at the bus stop every day.
They are close enough for me to call on them if I need them, but far enough away not to be in my business all the time.
That said everyone in town knows I am an aspiring writer. The people at the post office know when I mail out a submission or contest entry and they always ask about the results later. People see me at the bank or at the restaurants or at Wal-Mart and ask “Heard anything about your book yet?”
It’s nice, but you DO have to mind your P’s and Q’s because if you make a mistake EVERYONE knows it!
Sorry I have been least in sight lately. I have been writing my head off AND tending a seriously ill dachshund. Don’t know about the writing, but Miss Sassafras turned a corner this evening and I think she may recover.