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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Whose hood is nice?

I'm curious about your general definitions of civility and whether you think your area has much of it.

Erica AP had this interesting post on her blog about her frustrations with a lack of civility where she lives in California.

I think it's a little like behavioral extremes. Everyone thinks there area has it the best or the worst. It always cracks me up when I'm in a group and someone mentions a crime in their neighborhood and another person pipes up that they have it much worse. Or someone says their 'hood is really clean. And another person blurts out that theirs is cleaner. We don't really know that ours is better or worse, but it's our elaborate way of saying "me too!"

But Erica raised a good point - that the primary issue was the behavior, and the secondary issue was where it took place. She too was curious about whether Cali was just less civil than other places.

So if everyone thinks that their area is padded with knuckleheads, then maybe we really do have a nationwide problem of people just not being nice anymore.

How civil (or uncivil) is your area? Do you have an anecdote to demonstrate your answer?

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24 Comments:

  • Mine is pretty decent, mostly middle class working families. the worst we get is someones lawnmower being stolen from an open garage.

    I've noticed that it depends on how well the neighborhood is kept up and the number of rent houses in the area. Once things start sliding, the whole place goes to hell in short order.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 11:14 AM  

  • My 'hood, for the most part, is pretty nice. I think it's considered the 'burbs (Kendall? Yes? No?? Whatever). But I live in an apartment complex so it's not so much the hood, as the neighbors, that are the problem. The majority are decent, mostly young couples, 9-to-5'ers, and such. But there are a few undesirable residents too. Like the loud-ass pothead lesbians across the hall. They are SOO loud on occassion that I can hear them from the back bedroom of my apartment (they are across the hall, so we're talking across an exterior hallway, through my kitchen & dining/living room, through my hallway and into the bedroom -- from the INTERIOR of their apartment!) And most nights if you walk out in the hallway you can get a contact high from the pot smoke wafting under their door! Add to that a couple of rude-ass wannabe "cholos" that love to play their car radios super loud from the parking lot... UGH! If you want to listen to crappy music, that's your perogative but why the f--k do I have to listen to your crap?? The fiancé and I REALLY want to purchase a home outside of Miami within the next couple of years so hopefully I can hold out until then!

    By Blogger Balou, at 11:55 AM  

  • I live in the south, in a suburb to a large-ish city.

    Everybody's nice, bless their hearts.

    You can't get through the freakin' line at Walmart without listening to the woman ahead of you show pictures of her grandkids to the cashier - who actually looks at each one.

    If you're in a hurry, don't ask "How have you been?" because you'll actually have to listen to how they've been. And if the person asking YOU how you've been is over 50 and if they know any member of your extended family, don't expect to brush them off with a response of, "fine, thanks." If you stop to respond verbally at all, they then will have 20 follow-up questions about the family members they know.

    I miss Baltimore. Nobody talked to anybody.

    By Blogger SWF41, at 11:55 AM  

  • For the most part it's pretty nice here. However, last week there was a gang fight in town, a 14yr old killed a rival gangmember (15yrs) by spiking him in the heart with an ice pick. Scary stuff. All the stores locked down and bolted their doors.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 12:17 PM  

  • Well, we just have bad drivers here in California. I think that's what we're famous for. That and people driving while on their cell phones, doing makeup - the usual mix of accidents just waiting to happen!

    By Blogger The Dummy, at 1:43 PM  

  • My area is so cute. My bag boy calls me Ms. Mist and everything. Also, sometimes he says, "no wine today, Ms. Mist?" Cute kid. Everyone here nods and waves at each other when we're out walking, except for the crazy guy in the yellow shorts with no shirt. I've never lived with more civil folks.

    Now, a few blocks away...that's different.

    By Blogger mist1, at 2:52 PM  

  • My little area is so nice and safe that it might be mistaken for a gay neighborhood were there one more Cosi's.

    Funny, I'd always found Left Coasters to be so much more civil than the rest of us, if only in a facile way.

    By Blogger Matt, at 3:20 PM  

  • I love my neighborhood and find it to be very civil. If life weren't calling us to Dallas, I'd stay right here. Our biggest problem is hearing the people upstairs screwing each other's brains out now and then.

    The county I used to live in, however, is definitely uncivil! I will call it out. Prince George's County, Maryland. There. I said it.

    By Blogger katrice, at 4:03 PM  

  • I know it's not all of CA, because people come from all over to live here. I guess it's just the few who really have no manners, that shine above all the polite people. Because, really, most of my neighbors are great. Maybe it's just the big shots who have lots of money and nice cars that are the rude ones... I don't really know who they are...

    By Blogger Erica AP, at 5:42 PM  

  • my town

    need i say more? i did receive a bouquet of flowers from a young mother i let sit inside my house to nurse her baby while the parade passed by. this is the only place i would even consider doing that and propbably the only place she would feel that it was ok...it's a southern thing

    By Blogger savannah, at 6:52 PM  

  • I just took a run until sundown in my little suburban neighborhood. I felt completely safe. There are trails here that I don't mind walking alone in the day time for the most part. I've never heard a gun shot, seen anyone arrested, been awaken by sirens or the police banging on the door next door, which I can't say of my old home...um....Prince George's County, Maryland.

    By Blogger Lex, at 8:37 PM  

  • Dammit...my comment has disappeared. My neighbor was caught peeking in my son's bedroom window. I live in a nice cookie cutter suburban neighborhood. Very American Beauty.

    By Blogger Lee, at 8:39 PM  

  • I definitely noticed some differences when I first moved away to college. Now I lived in Louisville, but I grew up in a city just a few minutes from Cincinnati. In Cincinnati, people on the street don't acknowledge you, and everyone stares at the ground to avoid each other. No one is friendly to people they don't know. In Louisville, every stranger walking down the street wants to say hi. I think in general, Louisville is a nice place to be. My neighborhood, though, is not to nice. Even my big bad buddy who's in the airforce said he wouldn't live in my neighborhood even if he carried a gun. That's not something my puny little self needs to hear. I sleep with mace. The first night I moved into my new apartment, after having lived in a pretty good area, there was a huge fight in the street and I was terrified to go out. I sat in my empty apartment and called some big guy friends to have them leave the club they were at to come escort me to and from my car while I unloaded things.

    By Blogger hyacinths and biscuits, at 9:01 PM  

  • There are wonderful and rude people all over. I live in California also, as have seen some of the most touching moments of community outreach and, and have seen some of the terror that makes nightly news.

    I also had the chance to live in Kansas for awhile in a teeny-tiny town. I was baffled that there was no difference between the rude people and the sweet people there and the same ones here in California.

    By Blogger Bardouble29, at 9:29 PM  

  • While my little rural town in North Arkansas. While it's pretty clean and safe the people around here can be fairly rude and show a surprising lack of manners.

    By Blogger Jay, at 10:29 PM  

  • I totally love my hood but you know I have a freak next door neighbor vortex. Other than that, Mid-Beach is the best place.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 11:24 PM  

  • No matter where I am walking here in So Cal, it constantly amazes me how many people actually try to avoid eye contact with me as we each approach or do not say hello when I do to them.

    By Blogger Michael C, at 11:36 PM  

  • My neighborhood sucks. People have ZERO consideration for their neighbors, people park in other people's driveways so as not to inconvenience who they are visiting (never mind the poor folks next door they block in), they pull up to their houses with music blaring and sit outside til all hours of the day and night howling and screeching, they torment neighborhood dogs and let their kids do the same. They have no respect for anyone and think only of themselves. I've lived here most of my life and it was never as bad as it is right now. it is heartbreaking to see what my my neighborhood and my town has become.

    By Blogger Dayngr, at 1:36 AM  

  • I'd have said our neighbourhood (Central Portsmouth, UK) was headed below average, except yesterday I moved over on the pavement (sidewalk) to let someone pass - a teen guy in a hoodie & government surplus jacket, & he said, "Thanks". So maybe it isn't so bad after all.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 7:43 AM  

  • I love where I live. I just can't stand the people.

    By Blogger Winter, at 10:19 AM  

  • I have stayed within 5 miles of where I grew up. It's a pretty good neighborhood...not laden with crime, drugs, hookers or anything. However, everyone in the neighborhood is afraid. And I think it's like that in a lot of places.

    When my girls were selling girl scout cookies, the vast majority of people would talk to them through the door until they had determined the reason that some stranger had knocked on their door.

    Like I said, I don't live in a bad neighborhood, but it is quiet because everyone stays inside.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 11:41 AM  

  • I find large crowds of people to be generally uncivil. Something about mob mentality, I think. Not to mention the frustration that comes with traffic jams, long lines, etc. People tend to take these frustrations out on others.

    It's just too bad there are so many people in cities. They have almost everything I want and need... but then also all of the headaches I don't.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 2:24 PM  

  • The area that I live in is an interesting mix since it's a military/college town (Norfolk,VA ). Most of the nicer people that I come across are locals, the crazy folks all seem to be navy wives and out of state college kids...Not trying to be rude or inflammatory, that's just my experience.

    By Anonymous Michelle, at 3:10 PM  

  • I joke about the lack of civility in California, but generally speaking, the folks in my neighborhood are nice people minus a few knuckleheads.

    That being said, it doesn't stop me from rolling my eyes and chuckling when one of my neighbors start decrying the "gang issue". I live in a nice neighborhood. While it's hardly Bel Air, it's decent. The closest thing we have to the Crips is a group of high school wannabes who let their GPA dip to 3.0.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 7:12 PM  

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