The Yard Posted by: Rod Ford | 0 Comments
For as long as I can remember, the bane of my existence has been cutting the grass.
This has been one of the truly consistent plagues snaking its way through the years and trials and tribulations that all add up to be what some could consider “My Life.” I hated the loudness of the lawnmower, and how disproportionately big the front and back yard of our tiny home in Smyrna, Tennessee suddenly became when the idea of actually pushing this loud, smoke spitting, masochist-designed ground shortener was placed on the top of your “To-Do” list by a father who, unbeknownst to you, probably had you in an attempt to take the chore off of *his* To-Do list. Also, there were bugs. Bugs, bugs, bugs. Mostly mosquitos, which I was allergic to, who would light upon me with the fervor of hysterical mad men, separating me from my precious blood, leaving tennis ball sized lumps on my legs and arms and neck. My parents kept some quaint little barrel by our back door, which was once filled with flowers, and over the years had been reduced to a dirt bucket, that would, of course, fill with rain water and then become what it would be most infamous for — a Mosquito family reunion meeting grounds. If you were bitten by a mosquito in the 1990s in the state of Tennessee, there’s a good chance it came from my house. Sorry.
Back to grass: I would come up with anything I could to put it off. I’d feign sickness. Create “homework” that would take precedent over any chore that could wait until the next day. I’d stall and B.S. until it was dark, and therefore dangerous to let a child out into the night, mere feet behind a machine that could separate his feet from his legs with the ease of a hot knife through awkward, whiny, teenage butter.
Pushing the 12″ Murray my father owned when I was child, I would envision the life of a Yankee, with no yard, never knowing the burden of this thankless task. Never having to work so hard just to see it all grow back in two weeks. I had no want to be Earth’s barber. “Cover it with concrete!” I would urge my father, who would scowl and send me back out there to take my lumps.
I wish I could say things have changed. But they haven’t.
I purchased a riding lawnmower from one of the big hardware DIY chains approximately two years ago for a sum of just north of $1,000 American; my wife and I thinking that with this sort of expense, that I’d be foolish not to use what could only be described as a comfortable chair atop a rugged and quiet chassis that would cut my “lawn time” in half. Perhaps in half of half. Whatever the actual ratio of Me:Yard was, it was still too high. I would lower the blades until they were penetrating the Earth and create dirt where grass once had been. This was in 2010.
Not to say that my yard got any good quality time from me in 2010. I would wait, and make excuses and eventually I would stoop so low as to mow the parts of the yard that my wife could see through the back door or through a window and then ignore other parts of it because she wouldn’t go outside to check my work. Sad, but true.
In 2011, I used the infernal contraption all of once before the battery ran out of juice twenty-five feet into my inaugural mow. Secretly (perhaps not *so* secretly) elated, I pushed the garish orange lawn destroyer back to its rutted vantage point beside my back door and then found other things to occupy my time for the duration of the summer. Job searches, hobbies, etc.
I was an adult now and the height of my grass was of no concern to me. Country living afforded me this luxury, and eventually the weeds were tall enough that I could no longer see the disapproving look on the face of my harpy neighbor, who once sat on their porch watching me cut the grass, as if they were visiting Jurassic Park and I was the first Apatosaurus they’d ever laid eyes on. Well, now they don’t have that luxury.
In penance for my lackadaisical approach to keeping my grounds groomed, winter has been a tepid, contrary jerk of a season and has kept it’s ambiance in the cool to warm region, never quite reaching the levels of freezing that I particularly enjoy, due to its nature of keeping the ground nice and dead and the bugs long and gone. So, my neighbors, both of some besotted, ridiculous ilk, keep their engines running, giving their yards a little touch up here and there. As if to thumb their nose at me in mocking superiority at the sight of their yard in comparison to mine. They don’t understand that this is a competition I care nothing about winning. I take pride in my home, because I am inside it. I am in my yard from the time it takes me to exit my vehicle and enter my house.
My wife has been kind enough to not harp on me about it. I had a rough time of it last year and riding around, getting eaten by bugs and pushing a pebble up a mountain just didn’t seem important, but I know that given the current temperatures in the South that sooner rather than later, that damn lawnmower is going to want to go knock down some weeds and grass and whatever else is in its way. I’m going to have to bite the bullet, wear layers, and let the sweat fly and I hate it.
But this is part of being an adult. This is the bad part. But the bad part is over sooner if you just go and do it, I guess.
All of that responsible talk aside, anyone who offers up their enjoyment of this chore of chores is a sick freak and should be treated as such. I stick by that. And if you see me riding a big orange hate machine around my yard in the middle of the upcoming summer, don’t wave, because I might return your gesture with one of my own. Just know you’re seeing me at my worst even though my yard will soon looks its best.