When we bought new windows for our house last year, we supposedly received some type of discount in return for displaying a sign in our yard with the window company’s logo and agreeing to write a good review (if we were pleased) on social media and/or one of those neighborhood websites.
As regular readers know, I eschew social media, so I subscribed to the neighborhood site to write the review. I guess this site is, in fact, a form of social media, but it’s not one of the commonly known ones where folks can let you know where they are and what they are doing on a moment-by-moment basis.
I will not name names, but you probably know this site. And my limited experience with it serves as a perfect example of why staying away from “the socials” (as the cool kids call them) has been a good call for me.
If I were to enter one of the big ones, I’m afraid I might not exit. Or to borrow from the 70s song “Hotel California” by the Eagles, I might check out but never leave.
After I wrote the review, I thought that would be the end of my association with the neighborhood site. But I guess in setting up my “account,” or whatever it is, I entered my email address. Emails from the site soon began showing up in my inbox, with snippets from the latest post in the subject line.
And how could I not want more when I see a blurry picture of something that looks like a rope, with the ominous question, “Is this a rattler?”
It turns out snakes are big on this site. Hardly a week goes by that someone does not post a picture of one and wants to know what kind it is or if it is poisonous.
The responses run the gamut, from “this snake is harmless and if you had a brain in your head, you would know that” to “the only good snake is a dead snake, so kill it.”
That gets the animal rights folks going, and before you know it, it gets ugly.
And speaking of ugly, once someone mentions something political or a particular political candidate, the vitriol starts in full, before someone finally reminds everyone “this is not a political site, and you should know better” and a monitor removes the thread. (Obviously, Big Brother is watching.)
Snakes are only a part of the animal population that gets recognition. Foxes, coyotes and wildcats are regularly featured with warnings to watch your pets and children. Even exotic animals have been seen in Williamson County. You don’t think anything would make this up, do you?
And speaking of warnings, you can rest assured, if the posts on this site are any indication, you have neighbors looking out for you.
“A mysterious looking white van just went down our street,” or “a scary looking guy is walking around the neighborhood” are good examples of ominous alerts posted to make sure residents are aware of what might be lurking just outside their doors.
And with posts like that, I must go back and see if anything new has happened. What became of the white van or the scary guy walking around? (More times than not, I never find out.)
Frustrated drivers are big posters, too. They’ll start with something like, “To the person who nearly ran me off the road and then flipped me off” and maybe offer a sarcastic “thanks a lot.”
Just today as I write this, someone started with “Serious question” (to ensure readers know it is not a joke, I suppose), then went on to ask if “there is a reason so many people don’t get out in the intersection when turning left.”
Middle Tennessee is the first area in which this person has lived “where people consistently hang back behind the crosswalk waiting to go left when they have a green light.”
This post generated 216 comments (so far). Many argued it’s illegal to do what the poster described while others said, in not so many words, that’s a bunch of bull.
It’s riveting stuff that keeps me opening those emails, and before I know it, I’m scrolling through the comments.
I know this is not the best use of my time. And I know I can unsubscribe.
Which is what I will do as soon as I know, with certainty, a mountain lion was not in my neighbor’s backyard.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].