Quitting Next Door (Again)



Among the promises of the new age online is that our words and deeds would somehow, individually, amount to something greater, collectively.

And since 2016, we have lived inside the dark promise of that fantasy. We are hostages, basically, to a little computer that we keep in our pocket, a device that beeps and buzzes and infiltrates our life, not always for good.

Nextdoor is an app that you sign up for to keep in touch with your neighborhood. Lost cats, block parties, break-ins, yard sales, all of everything that used to go on without you knowing, is there for you 24/7.

I signed up with some hesitation since I publish this blog without monitors, group opinions or censorship.  

But hell, I thought, why not join Next Door, since I can report suspicious activity, life-threatening crimes in progress, and the local bank robbery along with saying I saw Mrs. Lopez’s lost cat.

Last week, I came home from the gym and saw a middle-aged man riding a boy’s bicycle. He was wearing a backpack and pedaling slowly and looking to the left and the right as he passed every home on my block.

I had recently seen a NextDoor post about a porch theft.  The thief had ridden up, then backwards maneuvered to a front door,  swiped a package and rode away without his face becoming visible to the home’s security camera.

I probably posted something like this about the slow-riding man on a bike:

“Man pedaling slowly, wearing backpack, looking at every home on the street, possibly Latino?”

The reaction? Not neighborly gratitude or appreciation but this:

“You probably don’t go out much do you? He is on the street every day and I’ve never seen him steal anything.”

“I wonder if you would have posted this if he were white?”

A few months earlier, I had posted about a person walking their pit bull who let the dog crap on the grass and never picked it up.

That elicited this comment:

“Not all pitbull owners behave like this so I hope you don’t mean to insult us all by this post but I find it very insensitive.”

There is another kind of announcement on NextDoor for urgent events, such as car chases, or robberies in progress, or child abductions.  When you post these, people’s phones beep and flash.  One of my neighbors used it to post something like this:

“URGENT ALERT! Somebody took a small ceramic planter off my lawn last night!”

When I pointed out that this was not an URGENT ALERT, he would not stand to be corrected. He used the theft of his planter to expound on the URGENT un-safety of our street:

“Yes Andrew it is URGENT! A few months ago my elderly mother was accosted by a drunken man on our driveway and terrified by the experience. So this theft of our planter goes along with other events that are URGENT!”

When this blog recently wrote about the garbage filled streets of Van Nuys, a reader told me he had posted a link to the article on NextDoor and it was taken down for “violating community standards.”  Why are the sanitary conditions of our area considered obscene or offensive speech?

Along Sepulveda at LA Fitness.

NextDoor can be helpful, mostly by informing people about events that have already happened: a woman attacked, a house broken into, a criminal apprehended.

But mostly it is an organ of stupidity, insensitivity, and misunderstanding.

I’m quitting NextDoor (again) and think I can live quite happily without its helpful, neighborly, kind posts.

2 thoughts on “Quitting Next Door (Again)

  1. Welcome to “THE REAL WORLD” Andy. We have such a blog-or whatever it might deam itself worthy of being called. I believe they took the name of “Ernie’s Walk” a remnant of an old guy who used to live on Huston St., but who took a fancy to the L.A. River as it’s ‘cement freeway’ sputters past Valleyheart St. He began cleaning up, planting and even creating some fascinating things to make that particular area from Kester to Cedros look nice. He ran a 200 yard hose through his neighbor’s yard to water all of that section of city land by the river.It was doggie friendly and became iconic to many who lived in said area back in the late 1970’s-1990’s. He was a character with a foul mouth and a sense for doing everything by himself. But others began bringing trees or plants or things they did not want and planting them along what would come to be known as “Ernie’s Walk”. Ultimately, I think he was rather overwhelmed and put out by an overabundance of folks overdoing a good deed. After he passed away, the city came in, put up a sign with his name on it and then removed about 90% of all his work. They have since put up a couple of commemoratives that acknowledged some of his many contributions. But anyone paying a million $ plus for homes along that corridor would now very likely have little appreciation for such ideas or behavior/s. In fact, few of them want people wandering down that patch of dirt along the river, late at night, with or without their animals. In fact, the city putting up giant, cement barriers to keep the homeless from perching under the bridge at Kester-as much for their scary looks as anything else-like drug deals in the night!

    But back to the idea of that blog; ultimately it turned into a ‘bitch’ session between those who couldn’t give a shit about pooping and peeing their dogs on others’ lawns and those who are sick and tired of seeing it with their neighbors feeling it is their inherent right to lay waste on their neighbors’ lawns. As I have a corner lot, my sense for things was more of a compromise. Perhaps they could simply bring the damned bag, fill ‘er up and put the refuse in the proper city trash can on their way back home. The proper response to those who feel put out by such ambitious behavior would be the remembrance of a dear little lady who died at 99.98 yeas of age. She was a workaholic throughout her life, ran one of the most successful framing shops in the Valley back in the 1940’s-1960’s with her husband, Mr. Ritter, and could still stand with the best of them, even as diabetes was taking her eye sight in her last few years of life. Now there was a middle aged guy-your typical white pig who had inherited his corner property at Willis and Otsego back in the 1970’s. It was double sized lot and had to old Willow trees growing near the front. And he had a gi-normous Saint Bernard that he would walk each and every day. Back in those days, it was left up to the class of the individual as to what to do about their animals and their waste. He would go straight to “grandma Diesel’s” place and poop there. The pile would look like a cow had descended upon her turf. One day, she waited outside for him and confronted him. He laughed in her face. So she bought a garbage can and began a collection. She then hired a strong guy who could lift said plastic can into a truck and they drove down the street with it, rounded the corner to his house an dumped the entire can full of his dog’s poop on his front porch. Funny thing…we never saw the jerk again. Meanwhile, he sold about a year later and two more mcmuffin mansions suddenly appeared. Oh ya, the Willow trees were-of course-removed. You just can’t have enough 6-8,000 sq. foot homes for the rich and famous to hire maids to clean!

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