If any credit can be gifted to a social media platform for bringing neighbors closer to the fence, by default it would go to Next Door. But, forgive me if I still want to delete it off my phone.
Next Door does what Facebook fails to do, and that’s narrowing the scope of one’s news feed by featuring users from your neighborhood. You sign up, declare where you live, and you’re communicating with your neighbors within a few minutes.
It’s ironic that this is the vehicle by which many of us communicate with people just a few doors down from us. Whether it be our hectic balance between professional obligations and our family lives, or wish solitude in a world full of chatter and debate. We don’t know our neighbors like we once did.
One thing that hasn’t changed about suburban living is knowing who to go to to pick up on the latest town gossip. The electronic age has enabled this to take place instantaneously, and nearly anonymously. Curious eavesdroppers need not reveal themselves to find out what’s going on.
A recent stroll down the virtual neighborhood unveiled the unhappiness of at least one resident who felt cheated by the Bethlehem Public Library. Roll back to when society was in the grips of a pandemic, the local library remained opened and allowed for patrons to borrow from its collection. It also suspended the collection of late fees for those tardy returns. However, that amnesty period was closed as of the start of July. The library’s decision was shared to the town it serves by means of its monthly newsletter, website, emails and this newspaper. There was, short of knocking on everyone’s door, ample communication.
Somehow, though, this person didn’t get the message. Of course, an angry post on social media was necessary. The message within the pixilated letter asked if it was ethical of the library to backcharge fees after it said it would not levy fines for late books. This question over ethics, mind you, is asked without drawing attention to the obvious breach in social contract of one person holding property for several months despite the promise of returning it within a handful of weeks.
The answer is yes, though it should go without saying. Though the library said it would not charge late fees during a set window of time, it didn’t erase the fact that you’ve held on to those books for far too long. It was an amnesty period, not a waiver of your obligation. The clock started on that date captured in the back of the book. But, don’t take our answer for it. It’s best that you call the library.
If social media does one thing well, it provides a platform for people to voice out their grievances and welcomes other to join in on their crusade. Whether or not that crusade is worthy of a following is judged by those who read it, and not often too well.
Another post complained over being yelled at by a homeowner who took exception to their dog peeing on the lawn.
Dog walkers should be curbing their pets. Urine, however, isn’t covered in that agreement. Be mindful that when your dog pees on a fertilized lawn, it burns the grass.
The dog owner still felt as if the homeowner was being rude. Of the scores who responded, maybe half agreed. The other half simply said, stay off their lawn. Apparently that was an incredulous response.
Everyone has their priorities in order. You love your pet. The homeowner loves their lawn. Keep it simple and understand that you weren’t invited. Go away.
There’s some merit to being anti-social, too.