Friday, August 22, 2008

Yard Braille

What is it with everyone and lawns around here??

I'm not sure I've ever blogged about this...actually, I think I might have, but I can't find the entry anywhere. Okay, I live in a lovely neighborhood - I'll call it Bungalowville. It's very close to school and has many little bungalows - I live in a 2-bed one and I love it.

My nextdoor neighbor has lived in the same house since, like, 1960. She's blind and her name is Miss P. Where we live, it's hot a lot of the year, so the grass growing/cutting season is a long one. And the grass grows fast. I have on more than one occasion come outside on my way to the car and seen Miss P on her hands and knees in my yard literally "reading" how long my lawn was. She can feel where there are weeds, etc. I'll say, "Hi, Miss P" and she'll say, "Honey, you need to mow your lawn." Okay, fine, I'll do it soon, I promise the nice old blind lady next door, who's reading the shame of my lawn like so much braille!

But now, the other neighbors are into the shame game, and we're getting a little sick of it. The lady who lives across the street from us and one over - and I'll name names - Jeri - has been getting a major attitude about our lawn. She'll say things like, "Well, I have a kid come and cut mine, but then I'm not as young as you two are!" And I've looked out the front window and seen her talking to my directly across the street neighbor about our lawn! Seriously, she's madly gesticulating and pointing and acting like it's waist high or something.

Since when did having a perfectly manicured lawn become such a stressful thing? Is this suburban life and I'm just not privy to it? I mean, we let our grass grow a bit and suddenly we're the trashy neighbors no body wants to say hi to. It's not like we have old cars up on cinder blocks on the front lawn - it's just grass!


What Now? said...

Ah yes, it's the lawn-as-litmus-test phenomenon! We managed to make a good impression on all of our new neighbors by mowing our lawn in our first week here (it was *really* long when we moved in), and I've kept it up well enough this summer, but I know from past experience that I do not do well in this arena when school is in session.

Flavia said...

OMG, that image of your blind neighbor on her hands and knees, "reading" the height of your lawn, is the funniest thing I've come across in days. Just what I need as the school year bears down on me like a freight train!

Dr. Virago said...

Is this suburban life and I'm just not privy to it?


If Chaucer were writing the GP of the CT today, he wouldn't suggest people's characters by their physiognomy, clothing, and horses, he'd suggest it by the state of their lawns. He'd especially do so for all the middle class characters.

OK, maybe he wouldn't, since he was English and a Londoner, but you get my analogy, I'm sure. Point is: the American suburban lawn is the modern external measure of your moral status.

Next time someone bugs you about it, say, "I read that Ted Bundy, the serial killer, had an immaculate lawn." Doesn't matter if it's true or not -- just make the point that a lawn is NOT an expression of morality.

And what's up with the blind woman?! OMG! If she can't see it, why does it bother her??

Dr. Virago said...

Oh, and another suggestion for the long term -- I hear moss is the big eco-friendly thing for replacing grass. Get your yard covered in moss and see what the neighbors say then!

medieval woman said...

I know, right?!? :) She does indeed *read* the lawn. And Dr. V, I love the crack about Ted Bundy - I'm unabashedly using it next time Jeri decides to throw a barb. TD was very put out the other day, apparently he'd said hi to Jeri and our other lovely neighbor Maria and Jeri had "just glared at [him] in disgust". TD was so upset about this that he vowed never to say hi to her again! For him, them's fightin' words...

The gauntlet has been thrown; the Hundred Years Suburban Yard War begins.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Put in prairie plants (or the native equivalent for your geographical location) and watch the neighbors steam . . . I've limited myself to clover, for the time being, because we may want to move this year, but at the next place I'm going all the way. I hate lawns. Terrible waste of water. Worth ticking off the neighbors to save the water, IMHO.

Earnest English said...

I'm with Dame Eleanor Hull. Lawns are a great bugaboo - and only in a few places in the U.S. are they anything but a big water suck. This is a rental, right, so maybe you can't pull everything up and start over, which would be the most environmentally friendly thing to do (and that would get those nosy suburban drones -- don't they have anything better to do???? - out of your life as you pontificate about the waste of water of their immaculate lawns), but maybe make an arrangement with the landlord to have someone come out once a month and mow the darn lawn -- and that's it.

Mark my words, those other people think that you are blighting their landscape and harming their real estate prices. They don't care about you. I'm reminded of the ticky-tacky house on the hillsides where they all look just the same theme from Weeds. Keep away from the drones!