The Neighbor's Lawn
My lawn is shit. I'm not even trying to hoodwink you into believing otherwise, but I have to at least defend myself.
When I was first married, our yard was probably one of the least presentable lawns on the block. Shortly after our marriage, my wife had cancer and we had 2 small children running around. The grass got cut every 10-14 days and that was the extent of the yard maintenance.
This occurred to the disdain of my retired neighbor "Dave," who took immaculate care of his property. I'd wake up to go to work in the morning and Dave would be out spraying weeds. When I came home from work he'd be cutting his lawn. If weather permitted, Dave cut his lawn every 3 days.
He would try to goad me into taking better care of my lawn, yet I wouldn't bite. Grass was low on my priority list in life and at one time I only cut it to avoid the wrath of city ordinances.
As my children grew into their teens, the yard, in comparison to others in the neighborhood, eventually evolved into an (almost) average lawn. Poor Dave passed away last year and now his lawn looks like my lawn. His widow hired a local grass cutting service that literally cuts and runs.
During a dry spell a few weeks back, I looked out my window and realized that my lawn was only green due to a proliferation of weeds....
Where am I going with all of this? I had a personal day off from work and was watering the flowers. Around noon, a whole crew showed up across the street. Guys fertilized, cut, and edged that yard. In 20 years, I never saw that neighbor take 2 seconds on his lawn but it always looked great. I just now realized that he paid handsomely to make his grass look great.
And it made me think of the rest of the neighborhood. "Beer Guy" always had a stunning lawn, I saw him working on it every single day. Working on it AND drinking a beer. Some retired neighbors, like Dave, were meticulous, while others left the chores to the grandchildren. Many new neighbors today have lawns that looked like mine did 20 years ago. Neighbors with small children and 2 income households. Very rarely do I see any type of professional lawn services on my street.
I couldn't help but think about the rich neighborhood that I cut through to get to work. I see people jogging there all the time, but not working on their lawns. The streets are clogged with professional trucks with immigrants manning mowers and leaf blowers every single workday morning, but not one hunched over senior with Roundup Spray in his arthritis riddled fingers.
I think there's a metaphor that I'm reaching for about time and money, but I just can't grasp it, it's like there's a Politics of Lawn Care.
Just a reminder, while I contemplate the minutia of agrostology, we are still on the brink of World War III. Between the Russo-Ukrainian War and the coming Israeli-Iranian War, we are still in the relative calm before the storm. The First World Countries will not allow oil and gas prices to stay this high for much longer. Do you think people would change who they voted for based on whether they had to mow their own lawns or not?
You'd be surprised.