Aug 2, 2009

Positive Peer Pressure to Join the Gang

We got a voicemail message at the house yesterday afternoon from one of our neighbors, who shall remain anonymous. The message was pretty close to this:

"Hello! This is your neighbor, so-and-so, from across the street? I have a daughter that lives in Anchorage, that's our connection! Remember? I am calling to remind you about the block party. We are going to be gathering mid-block at 6:00, and hopefully we'll be eating by 6:30. We have not seen you there the last two years, so we are hoping you can make it. Thanks, bye!"


I learned several things in this short message. First, I now know that the National Night Out block party is going to be this Tuesday. Second, it starts at 6:00 with chow at 6:30. Most importantly, I now know that my neighbors have been taking attendance at National Night Out for at least the last two years, and my lack of participation has been noticed. I don't know if I should be flattered or flustered by this knowledge.

Anytime someone doesn't join in a group activity, I think it's natural for those participating to wonder why the no-shows opted out. In my case, it's often as simple as the fact that I have been traveling that night. Nevertheless, if your not there, you can't explain your absence, and so people wonder. I suppose their fear is that the no-shows have made a conscious decision to reject NNO because either they think it's stupid, or they are too busy with evil-doing to free up their schedule and participate. In our case, it's none of the above.

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