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Howdy, Neighbor 

Making time for 'we' instead of 'me'

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In an effort to unite our community through a simple gesture, I introduced an idea through the Sebastopol Downtown Association that was approved unanimously. We call it "Hi-Noon." Every Friday at noon, the Main Street Sebastopol and downtown core business owners, employees and any others who want to participate, step outside and wave to one another, and to people passing by or stopped in traffic.

The idea is that we are all having a "me" experience, each one of us under different situations and different circumstances, but on Friday at noon, we recognize that we are all having our experiences in the same geographical location at the same time. So we take that moment to set aside the "me" experience to recognize the greater "we."

To date, we have shared three "Hi-Noon" Fridays, and the number of participants and excitement about the event continues to increase. The feeling we all experience is one of genuine community, similar to what we experience when there is tragedy, except this time, we're not coming out of our businesses to see what the emergency or police activities are about.

It's really cool, and everyone has reported feeling great afterward, even though our shared moment literally lasts only a minute or two.

"Hi-Noon" will be on the agenda at the next Sebastopol Downtown Association meeting, and there will be city council members and business owners in attendance to discuss how to better disseminate our message to make the "Hi-Noon" event more inclusive. The meeting is at Sebastopol City Hall on Tuesday, July 7, from 1pm to 3pm. Everyone is invited to attend, because ultimately, we all must participate to make this a success.

If "Hi-Noon" continues to grow, we hope to incorporate the entire citizenry of Sebastopol, expanding outward to the whole of Sonoma County and, who knows, then to all of California and beyond.

Michael Carnacchi, who has fought an eight-year battle against U.S. Bank, owns Apple Cobbler in Sebastopol. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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