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What with the issues addressed in the newly-released movie “Neighbors" and the title of a New York Times review of it, we got to thinking: Does anyone really borrow a cup of sugar—or an egg, or what-have-you—from a neighbor anymore?
Growing up, says Anne Bainbridge, 64, “there would be no question or hesitation to go ask for something—you wouldn’t think twice about it.” (Yes, Anne Bainbridge is this writer’s mom.) “If you needed to borrow something—say you just started a cake and discovered you were short one egg—you sent a child out to get it from a neighbor along with a container to put it in.” And then sometimes you’d send container back with a slice of said cake as a thank you.
“With time, though, there’s been a decline in one’s willingness to go borrow, because I guess there’s a feeling that it would be a nuisance,” says Bainbridge. “And that’s kind of sad.”
But as far as our Facebook followers go, such neighborliness is alive and well. Within an hour of posing the question, we received 15 positive responses, including this one from New York Times Travel editor Dan Saltzstein:
“We live in a big co-op in Queens and have borrowed at least milk and sugar from neighbors over the years. I once jokingly (but not) offered some whiskey to a neighbor who said she was having a rough day. She was like, ‘Uh…’ ‘Really, you are welcome to it.’ ‘OK, thanks!’ Whiskey was had.”
And this one, from 24-year-old Christine Marie:
“Just did that the other day, with like a quarter cup of sugar! I didn’t know those neighbors beforehand, but they ended up being lovely.”
So, Mom, don’t fret. People are just as giving as they used to be. Except we don’t think the ladies in the photo here were talking about:
“USB chargers.” -Facebook follower Michael E. Gruen