iIn a sentence, if you want to meet your neighbors, get a dog.
No, seriously. I've got a 47 pound furry alarm clock of a shelter dog, a Mc Nab Dog or a Border Collie. She looks like the pic in Wikipedia for the Mc Nab Dog. Someone in Central Pennsylvania went out and got this beautiful puppy, tried to train her, got her to do some basic obedience tricks, and promptly abandoned her at around a year. She spent another 6 months in a shelter. As such she's a very intelligent dog and quite fearful of other dogs. I drove out on Thanksgiving one year, picked her up and she's been my constant companion, my shadow, ever since. She was quite the handful and now that I've got her trained, she's an eerily intelligent girl who listens to everything that she hears in the house.
I'm happy I have got her. But that's another blog posting....
The thing is that I've got a habit of putting on the iPod and listening to Audio Books while walking at 6:15AM with her. Not bad huh, but so does everyone else in the immediate neighborhood, and we're all groggy. I'm walking about currently listening to Jeeves and Wooster from P. G. Wodehouse and there's someone wanting to chat me up. The distance of the normal walk is a mile, and if you want to keep a Border Collie, Aussie Shepard, or any other active breed, you simply MUST walk them often. She gets three miles a day, three walks a day. That should take about 20 minutes each. Stopping to greet the dog friends as you must will slow that to 30 minutes even at 6AM.
The later walk after I come home or just before bed are another story. I've learned that I can't toss something in the oven and have it ready when I get back or else I find myself with a cinder and getting to meet the local Fire Department. The Dinner Hour walk has taken an hour and a half. 90 Full Minutes of trying to get home because some fool in a bar with two beers in him just has to meet my dog because he knows of one in the next town over back in Nebraska or Montana and has to tell me about it.
The evening walk is even more amusing because now the Dinner Hour greeters have had another three hours to have their beers, vodka, or wine and can be sloppy. Put on your game face, this can be interesting! The neighbors are fine, and usually social and brief. Those folks on the other hand from out of town visiting the bars are now running across 5 lanes of traffic, squealing and screaming and slurring the words "Oh Beautiful dog, I have to pet him!".
Go home, get sober, and get lost. Maybe some other day when you've dried out, ok?
Actually that happens about once every week or so, and luckily with my size and demeanor, I can shoo the drunks away like so many flies.
Normally it is a pleasant way to see the neighbors, get caught up on the gossip and not be such a hermit watching the latest offerings on cable. It never serves to be boring, and if you find yourself on a quiet night and the stars are out with the breezes off the ocean, you can always talk to Your Best Friend. She'll smile back and keep walking.
Just have the bags and flashlight ready, there's a dog litter law in this town!