Experiment: "Leisure" Cards

When Jared and I got married a few months ago, we vowed to do what we hadn't done during the social exclusivity of our engaged relationship--actually get to know our neighbors.

I was thinking aloud one night about how quickly We are to disclose our interests, tastes, feelings, photos to a wide digital audience (friends, family, secret blog readers, Facebook acquaintances) but rarely broadcast these same interests to our "analog neighbors" (if you'll allow me the liberty of using that term).

The past 3 places I've lived I've barely known the names of my neighbors, let alone their interests or occupations. (It was only when I had to knock on my Morningside Heights neighbor's door to plead with him and the other French exchange students, to please, oh please, stop blasting Mariah Carey at 4am, that I actually saw who lived across the hall from me for the first time. Turns out they were cute, and the song in question was "Fantasy," which, let's agree, is certainly one of Mimi's best. It was okay in the end.)

Nevertheless, what is it that makes us [me] so afraid of neighbors? Why don't I A) know them B) care to know them? What happened to good old neighborly ways? Block parties? Yelling at your neighbor (but by his first name) for the treat his dog left in your yard?

So when we moved into our first house in a more family-centric neighborhood, I decided to do something a little bit different to get to know my new neighbors. I made these.

"Leisure" Cards. To hand out when I meet my neighbors. A new (yet decidedly old) kind of social networking. Actually talking to my neighbors in person. Knocking on their doors to say hi. Passing my info along, along with my likes/hobbies, in the chance that ever twain interests shall meet, my neighbors can, in the words of that awesome jingle, come and knock on our door.

Plus, my work is cutting corners and won't let me order actual business cards. So leisure cards will have to do.

It was a nice Saturday, so we cooked up some pretty fantastic cherry chocolate chip cookies and made the rounds.

Some neighbors weren't home. We left them our leisure cards/cookies anyway. Hopefully they don't look like junk mail.

The neighbors who were home were really great to meet. Like the nice middle-aged mom who immediately invited us in. She's got 3 rambunctious young boys and a cocker spaniel who looks like a human trapped in an animal's body (Jared and I have been calling him "muppet dog" for about 3 months - now we know his name!)

Or like the kid brothers who answered their door and said their mom couldn't come to the door, but told us their names and interests anyway. The taller one also did explain as we were leaving, "I'm the oldest, and also the only one who speaks Russian." Yep. We asked him how to say goodbye in Russian, repeated it back to him, and went on our way.

And then there's the Spaghettios (not their real name, but rhymes with it). A young family with, I kid you not, 6 kids under the age of 5. When we knocked on their door the 4-year old boy came running out of the house past us wearing a leopard-print bodysuit, no shoes. The parents are pretty awesome, and within 5 minutes Mr. Spaghettio and Jared were exchanging LOST theories. They even took us up on an "interest" on Jared's leisure card, and came over tonight to play games.

What I have learned:

Leisure cards = success! Though we'll see if more people actually get in touch with us after this neighborly gesture.


Lindsey said...

Great design on the cards. I heart the gmail address. Invite me over for games.

cole said...

this is one of the best ideas I've seen in a LONG time. way to go! we're not next door neighbors, but if your game extends 3.5 blocks, we should hang out some time.

Kenny said...

love this. some artsy blog needs to pick up this post.

Regan Anne said...

What a great idea!! I don't know any of my neighbors either but I'd really like to...

granny said...

That is pretty amazing. Good for you guys! (Don't be scared...Jared grew up in our ward. I'm not a stalker...well, maybe I am, but in a good way....)

casey elizabeth said...

I am soooooo doing this next move! Can you be my personal marketer? I love your design ever so much.

Kathryn the Great said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? Great, cheesy song... but really... you rock my socks off!

becca said...

such a good idea! what a good thinker you are! i want to make myself some. (cards, not cookies.)

breckster said...

I'd love to be your neighbor. They turned the elevator off in our building. Its amazing how many more of our neighbors we have met while climbing 6 flights of stairs.

Gav said...

'Da Svidania' is the English pronunciation of Goodbye in Russian.

Next time you see them say: 'Dobre dein' which is Good Afternoon.

Or 'Che eto chimodan?' which means Whose suitcase is this?