Our garage was full of baby items for the girls, old couches and chairs and a dining room set, and one ambitious weekend I decided I was going to post it all online. Someone had told me about an app that is specific to your neighborhood, and so I joined it and posted our items.

Now our garage is clean, but the fun with this app has continued. I get emails with the top posts and some of the things people say are bringing me so much humor and delight. One of my “neighbors,” Karen, posted that she would prefer that anyone decorating their house for the holidays use some color because white lights are dull and look like a shopping center. “Okay, Karen, thank you for your input,” I thought to myself as I considered how disappointed Karen will be when our palm trees are wrapped in white lights.

Last week, someone posted, “Hello, my name is Bill. I’m new to this app but have been living in this neighborhood since 1999.” Then someone replied to this with, “I once knew a Bill and he was the worst.” I felt so sorry for Bill — putting himself out there and this being his welcome. I felt compelled to add a second comment, “I know two people named Bill and they are both really great people. I bet you’re great, too. I’m glad you joined the app!”

A few days ago, the girls were riding their bikes around the neighborhood while my husband and I walked behind them. My daughter, who is newly training-wheel free, is still struggling with using the brakes and went into the rocks of a neighbor’s front yard. As we were encouraging her to get back on the bike, a man appeared by the front door and yelled out, “Kids around here should know by now Bill doesn’t like people messing up his lawn.” He continued, “You might be new to the neighborhood, but I’ve lived here for 20 years and it’s best if your kids learn this now.”

Bill? I thought, as my eyes widened. Neighborhood app Bill?

Now I know three people named Bill, but am only fond of two of them.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.