It was a blank, white, drab wall when I’d left for my work trip. When I returned, it was vibrant and alive with all these colors. “Who did this?”, I asked the caretaker. “The community folks”, he said. “Who’re they?” He shrugged and gave me a look that said “You should know, you’re the one who’s been living here!”.
Well, I should. Shouldn’t I? I do know my neighbors and also have quite a few friends in other blocks of this apartment complex. But do I really know this community and am I a part of it? Hmm…that depends.
I guess the key to community is a shared interest. This is the commonality that brings folks together. How long they stay together, what relationships they build is dependent upon themselves and upon the nature of the common interest..in this case coloring an empty wall with big fish :-)
But don’t you think that communities appear temporally rather than spatially! They form as circumstances demand, and when the emergency is over people go back to their semi-estranged mood. Maybe social expressions that really matter on a day-to-day basis are probably made by people who have no thought of community, like the grocer on the corner who works real hard trying to survive and may not think about it but his store is a contribution to the neighborhood.
As is also the case with our blogging world. Depending on our commitment or interest to a blog/community, we can be as established as residents or as transient as tourists. We can be super active with our dialogs and comments and blow our own horn or we can be the quiet ‘lurker’ who reads each word and sees each color and then just nods with appreciation. Either way, we contribute.
So, although I might not know each of them by their names, it is reassuring to realize that I’m a part of some community from whom my posts get their ‘likes’.. and this wall gets all these colors!
Read more writings in Weekly Writing Challenge: Listen to the Voices in Your Head.
Check out more urban pics in this week’s Photo Challenge: Urban.
Related post: Friendly faces in unknown places