I love me some neighborhood drama — and really, who doesn’t? We all know there’s nothing like a little cul-de-sac intrigue to make walking the dogs or watering your flowers more interesting. Thankfully, with the advent of social media sites like Nextdoor, a plethora of neighborhood news you didn’t know you needed is out there waiting for you.
If you’re really lucky you’ve got an ace reporter who’s taken it as a calling to alert the hood of dangers. From crime stats to the sheer gall of someone leaving not one but two mattresses on their lawn for a period of time that far exceeds the trash pickup window (and the trash company doesn’t take mattresses), these kind of neighborhood news hounds are priceless.
My neighborhood is blessed with a person who is following in the legacy of investigative reporters like Edward R. Murrow, Woodward and Bernstein — with a healthy mix of Gladys Kravitz thrown in. Not only is my fellow “Leawoodian” diligent (reports come in almost daily) and very skilled in ferreting out city codes, regulations and crime reports — this person is also fearless.
In a world where almost everyone uses these sites for passive aggressive gobbledygook, this neighbor calls people out and it’s delicious while also being very factual. Even better, the writing is top notch. It’s clear and concise with just the right number of adjectives to make the reading experience come alive.
This neighbor’s journalism has not only gotten noticed but has created a fan club. It is, indeed, the talk of my burb. Even my own family, usually very disinterested in the comings and goings of the neighborhood, is smitten. At dinner Sunday night I entertained my husband and son with the latest installment of what I’m calling “Burb Boss.”
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that they were both enthralled as I read aloud from our neighborhood site. I told them that it’s like if Tom Clancy just had the same three square miles to write about. It’s got it all: misdeeds, actual crime, vengeance, with the curse of every neighborhood — a smattering of residents who flaunt the rules either through stupidity, laziness or rebellion.
The Burb Boss usually posts late at night so every morning it’s a treat to see what awaits. It also provides morning fodder for those dog-walking conversations.
I’ll even admit to fact-checking the Burb Boss. For instance those mattresses I mentioned early — well, I did my own little reconnaissance and it was as egregious as reported. Who puts what looks to be full-sized mattresses in their yard? The last time I saw that kind of lawn artistry was at a frat house. I’m not on the Leawood City Council but I’m almost certain there are zero zoning allowances for fraternity houses.
In an attempt to play the anti Burb Boss I put on my super sweet neighbor hat and tried to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why someone would have mattresses on their lawn. It turned out I was #TeamBurbBoss4Ever. Even if you thought the trash company was going to haul away your mattresses, one would think that after a couple of days of those bad boys sunning themselves in your front yard, you would come to the conclusion that your used bedding needed to be disposed of in another way.
The Burb Boss has recently received perhaps the greatest compliment paid to a reporter — censorship. Yes, someone has been pulling some of his reports off the neighborhood site. Luckily, we get email backups of the reports so the Burb Boss can continue valiantly fighting for truth, justice and mattress-free lawns.