Lacey and I have been living in our house for four years now, and Sharif has lived there officially for the past year (and part-time unofficially for some time before that). And we've only just reached a point that I would call "neighborly." We've been on reasonably good terms with the neighbors, and had occassional conversations in the past. But suddenly, and we're talking in the past few weeks, we're at a point where conversations are happening that encompass three backyards. Beers are being passed over fences. We've even been handed dinner from one guy's grill, without any invitation, request, or mention of it before the plate was presented. It's weird. Good weird, of course, but still weird.
I'd say that much of it is due to the beautiful evenings we've been having on those days when it isn't raining. Everyone wants to be outside on days like that. All of the rest of the credit for the change has to go to Sharif (no surprise, there) and his chess set. He's discovered two neighbors who like to play chess, and who have now made it their goal to defeat Sharif. So far he's lost only 3 games out of some huge number, so I don't think he's likely to lose his title anytime soon. But that rivalry has opened some sort of floodgate of conversation. So, um, welcome to the neighborhood, four years late.