I love my neigbourhood. I feel so lucky to live where I do.
I visited a friend for dinner. It was so impromptu that I wore my ugg boots over there, classy lady that I am (but if you can't wear them to walk around the corner on a cold night, where can you? The privacy of ones own home? Pffft. Just call me trailer trash Betty.)
But it's not the close proximity of my friend's house that got me thinking about the positives of my neighbourhood. It was the fact that the street light was out in the lane that links our houses. This is highly unusual - I live in a Defence enclave and the infrastructure is usually well maintained. As I approached the lane, a women walking unaccompanied, in unsuitable shoes, and with two very young children in tow, I felt a shiver of uncertainty cross my mind.
Was the light out on purpose?
Was it a foolish idea to enter?
I looked at the houses on either side of the lane. Their lights were on, people were home.
But if I needed them, would they come when I called?
I remembered an article written by Sam de Brito about a respectable woman, well known in her neighborhood, who was the victim of a home invasion and ran to her neighbors (in her underwear) to try and summon help. The neighbors (two sets!) turned off the lights and refused to let her in the door.
Would that happen to me?
Then I remembered another story, told to me by a good friend Annie. She and her boyfriend, both Defence members, were walking through a large shop when they heard a commotion a few aisles away. They ran straight over. No hesitation. A man had suffered a heart attack and there was quite a crowd gathering. But no one was helping. Not one person had stepped forwards. Annie's boyfriend pushed through the milling hoards and started resuscitating the fallen man, while Annie called the ambulance and ran crowd control. God knows what would have happened if they hadn't been there that day. Perhaps the inertia of the other indecisive shoppers could have cost a man his life.
And I remembered another time while I was at the pool, and I heard a dad calling for help - his daughter was choking. I found myself running to him well before my brain was in gear. I left my own child to care for his. That shocked me, afterwards.
There are many similar stories among my serving friends, where a swift and decisive reaction to trouble has been ingrained, instinctive.
And I came to a conclusion - that kind of response has either been successfully trained into serving members as a result of their profession, and perhaps also it is the type of career that attracts people with those attributes. I suspect it rubs off on the people around them, too.
So I stepped with confidence down the dark lane, surrounded by Defence houses, comfortable that if I needed help, then help would come.
I love my neighbourhood.