Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Perfect Blend

Community, the latest in a long line of Government trends, but how do you get that perfect blend? Neighbours, my single word reply. For me, this conjures up my favourite lunch or tea time treat. This Aussie success an addiction since knee high. Running home from school or work to catch each half-hour episode. Neighbours, my chance to unwind, leave my troubles behind and forget my day. Nobody dares interrupt this schedule – no point in being ignored or receiving a tongue-lashing. Other soaps unable to rival this affection. What is the magnetic attraction? The altogether different scene – the other side of the world? The strong association to growing up, from child to teen, and now adult? Perhaps, it's the Ramsey Street residents themselves? Their fostered community spirit.

The theme tune plays out and I sing along – an automatic reaction whenever I hear the song. The show begins and I sit enthralled until the end credits roll. Pause button off, my day resumes to contemplate our anti-social trend. “Everybody needs good neighbours”, the theme tune claims, but this seems far from true. Many of us wishing the neighbours were not friends and even miles away. Is the once golden rule:- Do unto others as you would like them do unto you no longer a rule at all? Made a partial fact by our narrowed view? All of us quick to judge others, when judgment only lies within ourselves.

I am the perfect example of this notion, but I take a broader view. Intensely protective of my space and person, I prefer to know others on superficial terms. To allude to who and what I am. Naturally friendly, I chat to strangers or acquaintances in the street, but different people know different levels of my being. A chameleon, I change to suit conditions, revealing only what I wish. All these aspects of ME are true, but I ask: Can you ever know the whole person? I don't think you can. You can know others well, fall into easy conversation, but you can never know completely what they're feeling or thinking. Does this matter? Here's where we mess it up...

We think we have a right to know, to put words in others mouths. Committing others to heaven or hell based on their beliefs. This isn't what “love thy neighbour”is all about. Its love in many forms. From our neighbours next door to our neighbours abroad. Why does this view not hold up? Often used instead to incite hate or intolerance towards fellow beings. The rest of us preferring to shut the door, not connect to individuals we consider different. Perhaps the Neighbours lyric should read: “With a little apprehension, you can lose the perfect blend”.