Adjoining: A Word Disappearing


Since living in New Hampshire, this word has all but disappeared from my usage. When we traveled with children, we asked for adjoining rooms. When we lived in LA, the houses were close enough together to think of adjoining lots, more so if the one next to ours had not been built upon. We referenced it as the adjacent lot.

An apartment I rented in Marina Del Rey had just such a lot. After I left, someone built another apartment on it. Several windows, once functional, now looked at a wall. Much of the adjacent light snuffed out.

Not until New Hampshire did we experience the absence of encroaching neighbors. Even in Iowa, we saw gradual loss of adjacent emptiness.

Where we live now I am now so used to looking out our back windows at sky, water and trees that the road close to the front entrance is barely noticed. In fact, if we had a longer drive to the garage door, we would have to hire or own a plow.

Adjacent is unnecessary language in an infinite world. Neighbors are rarely engaged. I don’t miss them. Maybe I would if not married or lived with less lunch engagements. My world seems fuller empty, with nothing adjacent.

I spoke too soon. The plumber just arrived. His hammering of new insulation now an adjacent noise short lived.

9 thoughts on “Adjoining: A Word Disappearing

  1. jhvn February 7, 2014 / 9:53 am

    What is adjacent to my house on the 20 acres where I live, with a plow truck, is God’s great outdoors — wonderful. The neighbors whose property is “adjacent” to my land, are called abutters here in NH, and they must be consulted if I want to do something new with my land. Let your mind wrap around the differences between “adjacent” and “abutting” land. What’s in a word?? Sometimes, lots.

  2. Carole Webber February 7, 2014 / 12:40 pm

    Could abutters also be called adorners ?

    • fictionfitz February 8, 2014 / 7:27 am

      Assume this is a play on words. If so I get and appreciate. BUT you made me look it up, A person who or thing which adorns or decorates something, and if I use its definition, what you say doesn’t make sense, answer no. Am I missing something?

  3. New Hampshire Garden Solutions February 7, 2014 / 6:55 pm

    I can’t remember the last time I used that word but I also can’t imagine what I would have used in its place, so I must not speak of things being adjacent very often.

    • fictionfitz February 8, 2014 / 6:42 am

      Exactly. Although you do photograph many growing things seemingly adjacent to one another. Plants seem to like community more than isolation.

  4. Marilyn Armstrong February 7, 2014 / 7:29 pm

    Isn’t it funny how quickly we convert to country folk? I think we moved out of Boston and went full country in about 24 hours 🙂

    • fictionfitz February 8, 2014 / 6:46 am

      It didn’t take us long either. Yet the world is going the opposite way. Assuming humanity survives for a couple of hundred years, there may no longer be a choice. Maybe ameba’s will rule the world with less wisdom but more success. And I am actually in a good mood.

  5. SirenaTales February 10, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    “My world seems fuller empty, with nothing adjacent.” Terrific line, FF. Thanks for the unique, whimsical, thoughtful post. Hope the insulation project is a success, especially in this winter!

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