I live in a village, my house is seven kilometres from the CBD in Perth, but East Victoria Park is much more than a suburb, it is a community with village values and most days I remember to be grateful about the choice I made when my husband and I moved back to Perth ten years ago.
I was really reminded of this the other day when I was standing at the self-service checkouts next to an ex-colleague who didn’t have her wallet and I paid for her shopping. She said her family cheered for me at dinner that night and when she transferred the money into my bank account she called me the shopping angel. I told my friend about it and she told me that she had bought one of the homeless men of the neighbourhood a juice and a knife earlier that week (he needed it for a BBQ he was attending), because that’s what you do in a village, you help people sans judgement.
I know that if I am ever in the situation where I don’t have my purse, I will not have to leave my shopping in a trolley and go home and get it, hoping that it hasn’t been put back on the shelves. The chances are really high that I will find some-one in the shopping centre who knows me and even if they haven’t seen me for a while (because I generally send my husband to the shops), there is a 90 percent chance they will happily pay for my shopping. They know where I live, they know I’m not going anywhere and they know I’ll pay them back.
The lovely hipsters at my local coffee shop, Antz, know my coffee order, they also give me free coffee if I forget my purse. I always pay them back, but they would never ask for it, or keep tabs. Once a year everyone pays as much or as little as they like for coffee and the money raised goes to a charity. Most times people pay more than they normally would for a price of coffee. Everyone who goes there for the first time gets their first coffee for free, because that’s just the type of community type person the owner, Craig, is.
Our local MLA, Ben Wyatt, is known to everybody and is just a good bloke regardless of what your politics are. He is present. He turns up when he says he is going to, respectfully listens to his constituents and gives away pinwheels each year at the Christmas Street Fair. He has represented us since 2006, I hope he doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime because those shoes, they would be enormous.
Around the corner, my crossfit friend has jars of lollies, like literally five or so jars, always filled with lollies. I was craving them one Christmas and put the word out on Facebook, she told my son and I to come over. We went, we ate lollies, we (not he) had a glass of wine. There are lollies 300 metres from my house at any given time, because she is strong willed and I am not and she has a village mentality. I suspect this might be one of the contributing factors to why she looks like she does crossfit and I do not, still testing that theory though.
Many times I have put the call out for a coffee delivery, I’m never left hanging.
Other times I’ve been sad or unwell, some-one will appear and clean my kitchen, or deliver lollies (yes, I have a problem), or deliver flowers. I hope people can say the same about me, I think they can.
I asked some friends to tell me what they thought about in relation to our community and aside from what I have mentioned; they raised the awesome initiative of the Little Libraries, the town funded street parties, our local crossfit box, our local library’s programs, parklets, the fact that the same security guard has worked at the Park Centre for over 20 years, Twilight Concerts and there’s more, but if I go on I’d just be bragging.
As I mentioned earlier, I normally send my husband to the shops. I love my village, but like to meet people on my own terms, but if I am going to bump into people, then I’d rather it be in my village, because I really like the villagers I live with.