We often prefer places and people we know, sidestepping the anxiety and chore of the unfamiliar. In this new political climate, there’s talk of the “bubble” many of us seem to have gotten into.

Where, when, how to meet and mix with “others”? It’s a very old question going back to hunting and gathering bands. It raises primal fears of safety, and war. Many public places where we mix — concerts, sports, malls, government hearings, airports — are too large, anonymous, and now even dangerous, for really meeting “others.”

There are more intimate and local places.

On my recent birthday, I went bowling with my family. I got the three-toned shoes, an XL yellow ball and my bowling name, “slim.” For the next two hours, I was out of the bubble. The guys on the next lane were from my local car repair. We nodded to each other. And after a few gutter balls, the young bowler on the other side started giving me tips. “Slow down!” was a favorite. So go bowling. There are several places around.

There’s a slow-building event, the Repair Café, that seems to draw people from different tribes into a civil exchange. At a recent one in Warwick, there were the young, the old, families, union guys and lots of ladies with broken lamps. Even the repair coaches, those people with the magic and logic to fix things, were very diverse. It’s a novel, safe way to visit and explore the shifting edges of how community gets built and rebuilt. There are now eight of these in the region. repaircafehv.org. The next one around here is at the Warwick Senior Center on March 18 (see calendar, page 8).

The deep agricultural roots of the region provide more chances for mixing. The family farm markets are all crossroads for different people. At Blooming Hill, Roe, Soons, Ochs, Pennings, Green Onion, Rogowski you find people, regardless of politics, who share a love of the land, the locale and the food.

Getting out of the bubble really means making your bubble so big, most people are in it with you.

Daniel Mack