In this little community in Tucson, Arizona there is the great divide: Young adults and Baby Boomers. The former, it seems, can quickly bounce back from unfriendly encounters with other neighbors.
Boy, did I get an earful from fellow Baby Boomers. And, it wasn't about issues or events. It was about people in the complex who, they were convinced, had hurt them.
The amazing thing was that wasn't the first or even the second time I had heard their stories about what this or that neighbor had said or had actually done.
Why was it that the hurt stuck? And with it they got stuck?
Perhaps there isn't adequate churn in their relationships as there is with youth. Not enough new people entering and former acquaintances exiting.
Another explanation might be that they allowed hurt to accumulate over a lifetime, never positioning it as the way the universe provides lessons. As one Buddhist monk told me: Everyone who caused us discomfort has been a gift. We can accept the gift, which is learning, or we can continually reject it, not learning.
A third way of sorting through this is the lack of new goals. The attention is paid to the people in one's life, not what one is determined to accomplish.
Whatever. The intensity of the backbiting scared the dickens out of me. Since then, I don't walk my dog around the complex. I steer clear of those neighbors. Obviously, if they are in the habit of ripping others to shreds, they must also have me on some of their lists of miscreants.
Isn't it just like our mothers told us: Be circumspect with those who live near. Robert Frost put it more poetically: "Good fences make good neighbors."