Last night, a strange thing happened. A new neighbor moved in next door to us in our Wash Park duplex. Not so strange so far, right? But here’s the thing. He bopped around the neighborhood earlier this week, ringing doorbells and dropping off casual flyers, inviting the people on the surrounding blocks to drop in for an open house to meet him, and each other. It was sort of a self-starter version of the welcome wagon of old. Of course, no one does that anymore — at least not in most downtown neighborhoods — so the new guy took it upon himself to introduce the rest of us to each other. It was a fun group. I met the family from directly across the street, who said that in the four years they’ve lived there, this was the first time they’d met any of their neighbors. I recognized the husband from another couple from a few houses up the block, but only because we both walk our dogs to the park regularly. His wife was a sweetheart, and was so pleased that someone on our block finally had a get-together. Several of the neighbors I already knew were there, but it was fun to see them in a different environment. (We all know each other’s dogs, actually. You see, it’s practically a requirement in Wash Park. Otherwise you’d never meet anybody.) We hung out for an hour or two, chatted over wine, beer, soda, and munchies, and then once the house cleared out, a few of us stragglers leashed up the furballs and headed off to the park. It was great. So you know what? Screw the nightlife scene for once. (I can’t believe I just typed that.) This weekend, go knock on a door or two and get to know your neighbors.