One of the joys of living in the suburbs is the inevitability of the Lawn Wars. You know what I mean. Who has the prettiest, neatest, best maintained lawn in the neighborhood?
Normally, I did not enter into that competition. Hey, I know when it is futile to even try. But one Sunday I told my husband that it was about time we did something about our lawn.
“Because just once this summer I’d like to see the lawn mowed, edged and trimmed all on the same day.”
“I don’t know. It’s just this strange desire that comes over me now and then. It’s the same compulsion I get once or twice a year to see the house all neat and clean for more than five minutes at a time.”
“But it’s a futile effort. It’s all going to grow back.”
“I know, but it will look so nice for a day or two. And who knows, we might even find the kid who got lost out there last week.”
So we dusted off our yard tools and set to work.
A couple of hours later, the thrill of our adventure had worn thin, and I was beginning to think that maybe my husband had the right attitude all along. We were hot and sweaty and surly, and I had just made my third trip to bandage a new blister, wondering what idiot had ever invented lawn care.
Obviously, humanity was not born with a desire to have a lawn that looks like a putting green, and lawn care could hardly be included as one of the basic primitive instincts of survival. Not only would it have been next to impossible to keep a nice lawn with all those dinosaurs stomping about, I think a caveman had a lot more important things to worry about than what his neighbor’s yard looked like. So where did this compulsion to tame green growing things come from?
After giving this question careful consideration, I decided that once upon a time there must have been this obsessive compulsive pioneer woman who drove her neighbors nuts by keeping her house so clean she didn’t have to send out for a new sod floor every six months like the rest of them. She probably never had a wrinkle in her sunbonnet either. And she was probably the type who had all her work done while the rest of the ladies were still trudging down to the creek with their baskets of clothes.
One day, to stave off waves of boredom, she probably got this brilliant idea to take her compulsion for neatness outside. And that, folks, was the birth of lawn care.
But what I’d like to know is why her great-great granddaughter had to move in across the street from me?
Now I live in the country and have a different kind of lawn mower….