One of the great pleasures of owning a big, energetic, demanding dog is that I am forced to walk him somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half each day. I am trying to intersperse some rollerblading with him to break it up and give him a different kind of exercise, but pretty much it's walking. This means that I actually have a sense of my (very extended) neighborhood and a feeling of being a neighbor. On our afternoon walk today, we were greeted with a beautiful and huge smile by one of the ladies working on El Cajon, we got into a discussion with our UPS man who was delivering ten blocks away but couldn't leave a package because of a barking dog who commented on how that's never a problem with Mateo and we were greeted by and greeted several other people, eliciting smiles all around. To quote Forster's epigraph to Howard's End, "only connect".