Saturday, March 3, 2018

Still Life with Robin: March of the Posters

by Peggy Robin

March has started off with a roar, and I’m not talking about the windstorm, but the storm of messages on the Cleveland Park Listserv. On an average day, the listserv typically has between 25 – 35 messages, with a fairly consistent average of about 30 a day (fewer on weekends, more on Thursdays and Fridays). But for the first three days of March, the listserv has averaged double that -- 60 per day. What accounts for this giant leap in loquaciousness? Well, it really got started on the last day of the month, before – Wednesday, February 28th. That was the day that Suzie of Wake Up Little Suzie announced her retirement and the closing of her store. Who knew so many would be prompted to tell of their love of the store? There were 9 on that day followed by 4 more the next day and a couple of late ones coming in on Friday and Saturday, for a total of 17 so far.

We’d already been discussing the closing of Johnson’s Flower and Garden Center, and when someone asked where to get flowers and plants now that Johnson’s is gone from Tenleytown, there were 10 answers to the question on Wednesday.

Also, early Wednesday morning the Kennedy Center opened the online box office for Hamilton tickets. That brought in 9 messages about the experience of the online, hours-long queue.

Two other discussion threads would start on Wednesday that would go on and build up over the next few days. Someone found two dead robins in her yard and asked what to do about them. One person answered the same day, but on Thursday, 7 more posters joined the discussion about what could have killed them. The other conversation that started on Wednesday was about the potholes on 34th Street. Just the one observation on Wednesday, followed by 6 more on that subject on Thursday and 4 more on Friday.

So Wednesday was a busier-than-usual day….and then came Thursday with its own new hot topic:  Dog Waste! Seventeen messages coming in, boom, boom, boom, the same day – 22 in all, so far. And yes, I think we’re done with that topic.

Thursday also brought the Weather Advisory from DDOT that the big windstorm was on the way, followed by 11 messages about the after-effects. Not counted in that total is a separate thread about Washington Post delivery, started by someone delighted to find the newspaper on their doorstep as usual, despite the extreme weather. That discussion almost immediately morphed into related matters, such as tipping the carrier, delivery at other times of the year, and other types of delivery problems. Total number of messages so far: 12.    

Now, keep in mind that this is all on top of the usual daily numbers of posts for people seeking and giving recommendations, offering things for sale and for free, posting about nannies and housecleaners, advertising houses and apartments for sale or for rent, and announcing various events and public service messages. Also consider that for all the posts you see, there’s another 20 or 30 messages a day that you don’t see: messages that duplicate information already posted, anonymous messages (we usually give people a chance to say who they are, so that their unsigned messages can make it onto the listserv, but often they don’t respond), replies that should go just to the original poster, two-word replies (“I agree” gets canned), and sometimes, messages that are too nasty to pass the smell test.

So to a quick summing up of perhaps the busiest 4 days of the listserv’s 18-and-a-half year history:

     Hamilton ticket queue: 9
     Dead Robins: 9
     Where to buy flowers and plants: 10
     Windstorm related posts: 11
     Washington Post delivery: 12
     Potholes: 12
     Wake Up Little Suzie: 17
     And the top posting subject, with 22, goes to….Dog Poop!

To all our new members (around 20 newbies per week), I promise you, this whirlwind of messages is unusual, and will recede to a more normal level soon. Just as the windstorm died down, we’re thinking we may have a calmer, quieter Sunday.

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

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