This is a tale on why I do not live in Suburbia or Exurbia. I'm a strictly Urbia guy (though my wife is a Rural Gal, naturally). Suburbia, with its manicured lawns, pesticides, tended gardens, and weed-whacking devices (which truly emit one of the most ghastly irritating sounds in all of Christendom, followed a close second by those hideous leaf blowers), would not have me. And those places with strict neighborhood association covenants (how Biblical) about house colors, lawn care, and good neighborly grooming (those places are called "Florida") would also evict or sue or deport me.
Let's speak plainly: my fecking problem is the fecking grass.
In our backyard of one-quarter acre or less within a smallish city in the Northeast (Northeast U.S., that is; now naff off), my laziness and dereliction have resulted in (what's the word I'm searching for?) a jungle. Like you see on National Geographic. Or The Discovery Channel (who paid no fee for these plugs). This Urban Neglect Jungle Effect (UNJE) happened in May or so, before I first mowed the lawn in Anno Domini 2006. I guess I waited because it has been known to snow here as late as Mother's Day (yes, in 1995 or so). So, it's not pure laziness. It might be a textbook case of Lawn Neglect Feck Off Neighbors Passive Aggression, Thank You, Syndrome (LNFONPATYS), though it has not come up yet in therapy (because I've got other "issues" [don't you just love that word? Murder Suspect: Your Honor, I've got some hostility issues I'm working on]). After spending 3 or 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon back in May I promised myself I'd keep at it. This wouldn't happen again.
In spades. (In fact, I could use a spade, or a scythe, or a sickle, the one Joe lent me last May AFTER the First Cutting.)
It rained a lot. You can't mow when it rains. The meadow is almost up to my knees in places.
I forgot to tell you.
I have one of those old-fashioned hand-push lawn mowers. No electricity. No fuel. No pollution. No sweat. (Delete those last two words.) I do sort of like the exercise. To a point. But when you (in this case, me; back to that tireless self-absorption we bloggers delight in) have a meadow in the city, it's a little like, er, um, working on a prison detail. I guess.
The part of me that pretends to be into Zen enjoys this. One blade contains the universe, and so forth. And I find it a tad recreational after slogging out proposals all day.
But the situation now is so dire, I can't do it all in one evening (when it has cooled slightly).
So, if I get in one or two rows of the Back 40, as I did tonight, it's a pretty good evening.
The little (ha!) part of me that is manic could be out there now with the back porch light on and a miner's helmut mowing that lawn.
Did I tell you it is not a lawn in the suburban or, say, Frederick Law Olmsted sense? I didn't tell you? It's sort of a botanical experiment featuring something technically called weeds, clover, mint, ivy, crabgrass, violets, weeds, and occasional grass. Under the maple tree it's mostly what they technically call dirt (which does make the Lutheran hand-plowing easier).
My late father, a hard-working Slovak-American, would be appalled.
(Dr. Andrew, are you getting this? Oh, and Dr. Andrew? I've skipped doing the dishes in favor of this manly duty, albeit a delayed duty.)
I recall my Dad during my childhood cutting hedges at my cousin's house with a fury, as if the pruning were a punishment. We didn't have hedges of our own since we were apartment dwellers. Years later, I felt he attacked my Beatlesque haircut with the same vengeance, the starting point of dreadful generational battles (cf. therapist sessions cited above).
The lawn crassly keeps creeping in, inevitable as death itself.
So why bother?
Though I really wasn't a fan of tie-dye, the Tie-Dye Persona in me would let the whole alleged lawn grow at will, all the time, bloody feckin hell. Nature, baby.
Of course, once you get into it, you just get into it.
But it's taking me all week. I'm about half-done.
And the part I started on Sunday (which should be a day of rest) is already fecking growing again. Yet.
And the front "lawn," which does not get as much sun, and which slopes to our city street, and is not nearly as skyscaperish in its proportions yet, has not even been touched.
Blame it all on blogging.
(For penance, I could go out there now, round midnight, my mower's not that loud, but the mosquitos bite. As do lawns.)
(And, no, dear Republicans, I am not about to hire some illegal to do it.)