It’s been a very domestic summer. Since our Memorial Day trip to upstate New York, we haven’t wandered more than 20 miles from home. So far, the number one highlight of my summer has been getting sucked into (as a spectator, of course) a spectacularly suburban fight on Nextdoor.com. Do you know what Nextdoor.com is? If not, I highly recommend it. It’s this neighborhood website where neighbors request recommendations for things like plumbers, cars or electricians, and give away things like expired car seats and training potties. There are Neighborhood Vigilantes who make it their business to put a stop to the ever-increasing crime that plagues the mean, sycamore-lined streets of my census-designated unincorporated community. There are reports of suspicious neighborhood activity, such as children vandalizing fences with chalk-graffiti (It could be gang-related! They recruit them early!), as well as classic postings about packages being stolen from neighbors’ front doors. As you can imagine, things sometimes get ugly when neighbors have free reign to comment from the comfort of their screened-in sunrooms.
The fight I referred to above was not about stolen packages or kindergarten gangsters. It was about feeding the neighborhood deer. There’s this neighbor, I’ll call her The Patron Saint of Wild Animals, and she posted what she thought was a whimsical story about a buck deer taking an apple right out of her hand. Apparently, she sometimes throws her food scraps in the yard to feed the squirrels and chipmunks, (rodents with tails) and a deer happened to present himself and request some apple scraps. Well…this exploded into a whole ethical drama about the moral implications of keeping wildlife wild and ensuring that wildlife maintains a healthy respect for humans vs. “aww, how cute the deer ate right out of your hand!” (If you must know — and I know you must — I sided with the keep-wildlife-wild crowd. This is mostly because I’m a hardcore rule-follower and The Patron Saint of Wild Animals made a posting last year about feeding the neighborhood foxes, and she was very proud of her fox-feeding ways. This was not her first offense. As Mitch McConnell might say, She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. Last year’s Foxgate resulted in all kinds of heated words and a polite but stern warning from the neighborhood police officer reminding the Patron Saint of Wild Animals that feeding wildlife is against Ordinance something or other. The Patron Saint of Wild Animals was deeply offended that the majority of her nextdoorians came out as anti-Fox-feeding and reported her to the authorities, so she wrote a long and dramatic goodbye on the message board (at least, if memory serves me right, it was after this particular heated exchange — she’s been involved in several), but as far as I can tell, she never actually quit Nextdoor. I don’t think she can quit. She’s kind of the queen of Nextdoor, and honestly, Nextdoor would be nothing without her.
Back to Deerhate 2019: The Patron Saint of Wild Animals eventually deemed all the naysayers ridiculous and closed the comment section. I was truly heartbroken because things were really getting out of control, and I felt like the fighting could go on forever. I really feel like this conflict could have grown to epic proportions, and it never really got a chance to reach its potential. No one has posted anything remotely controversial since then.
Anyway, below are some summer highlights. Although nothing can compare to Deergate 2019, we’ve tried to make the best of what’s turned out to be a soupy, stifling summer after a lovely spring. I’ve been doing some (very little) reading. These are my summer reading accomplishments, thus far (see my goodreads for reviews; name: Jisel).