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Kruiser's (Almost) Daily Distraction: Nextdoor App Is Where I Go to Feel Normal

(Kruiser’s Permanote Description: This column is intended to be a lighthearted, short-form way to frequently connect with our cherished VIP readers. Sometimes it will be serious. Sometimes it will be fun. Sometimes it will be a cornucopia of intellectual curiosities and fascinations. OK, maybe not so much the last one. Anyway, as this is a departure for me, I’m including this explanation at the top of each post for a while. Also, non-subscribers can see the first couple of paragraphs so I am in desperate need of filler until we get to the private stuff (subscribe here). Please remember that there is a standing invitation to ask me anything in the comments. Once a week, I’ll answer.)

Yes, It’s That Weird

It probably comes as no surprise to any of you that I’m not very normal in real life. In fact, I’m a lot stranger there than I am in my writing, and we know that I ain’t exactly mainstream here.

While I prefer to think of myself as unique, I know what everyone else is saying about me. It’s OK, you can admit it. We’re all friends here. Except for that one guy. You know who.

Anyway, there are occasions when I don’t want to be the “one of these things is not like the others” guy. In years past I would have had to hunt down some circus clowns to hang out with or hit a Tijuana donkey show with some Democrats to feel relatively normal. Now I have to look no further than my phone and the Nextdoor app.

For those of you not familiar, Nextdoor is like a digital town square. More like a neighborhood square, actually. People in your relatively immediate vicinity can keep an eye on each other, sell things, warn about suspicious activity in the area and, of course, incessantly post about lost pets.

Because most people are awful and shouldn’t have pets.

Or children.

After deciding a couple of years ago that I was going to stay in this neighborhood I joined Nextdoor to sell some things. I had much greater success with that than I ever did with Facebook Marketplace. I hadn’t really planned on paying much attention to it, honestly. For some reason, I didn’t turn off the app’s notifications after I sold what I’d listed. I don’t like a lot of notifications on my phone, so it was unusual that I forgot to do this.

Oh, the new world that awaited me.

I don’t know exactly how Nextdoor determines users’ areas. I may have outlined my parameters when I signed up. It monitors what I would say is a five-square-mile area around me. In the 22 years that I was away from my hometown, the city named all of the neighborhoods. As I live close to downtown Tucson, that information makes it easier to accurately ascertain the level of crazy.

After using the app for two years, I’m comfortable saying that I am nowhere near being the biggest loon in my immediate vicinity. It’s both fascinating and disturbing to find out what’s lurking behind your neighbors’ drawn curtains. Yeah, the app is mostly lost pet stuff, but some real gems show up rather frequently. There are a few social media accounts that highlight the “Best of Nextdoor.”

Here’s an example:

And another:

Here’s one of my personal favorites:

It’s free entertainment, people. And it’s glorious.

It will also make you feel better about yourself.

Crap, I think I’m out of butter.

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PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author ofDon’t Let the Hippies ShowerandStraight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.