Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Why my lawn is important to me.

By Greg

Last night I had a tuna sandwich. I ate it while I sat beside my daughter, Allie, in the living room (we usually don't have dinner in the living room). Allie was also eating. She had a quesadilla, apple slices and celery sticks slathered with peanut butter.

My wife and other daughter were upstairs sleeping. They weren't feeling well. Again.

After dinner I applied fake pink plastic Barbie nails to the ends of Allie's fingers. The fake nails were an Easter gift from Allie's Aunt Pam. Allie loved decorating her new nails with flowers and holographic stickers of high heeled shoes. I didn't share her enthusiasm. However I was the only person around who could peel the tiny stickers off the backing paper and apply them to Allie's little pink claws. I did my best to hide the fact that long nails freak me out. Fortunately Allie got tired of her nails fairly quickly and asked me to remove them.

Next Allie sat on my lap and watched a cooking show for kids. After five minutes she looked up at me and said, "I'm bored watching this. Let's play."

I felt like sitting on the couch. I felt like staring at the ceiling. I felt like listening to the TV tell me how to make fondue for eight-year-olds. I felt like clearing out my tear ducts with my index finger. I felt like trying to pull off my socks without using my hands. I felt like looking out the window. I felt like bumping the lamp shade to see how much dust would fly off it.

I did not feel like playing anymore.

"Go play by yourself, Sweetie," I told her.

Allie just sat there on my lap staring at the ceiling, listening to the TV tell her how to make fondue, sucking her thumb, picking at the loose threads on her dolly, looking out the window to see what I was staring at, watching me bump the lamp shade and adjusting her posture as I wiggled my feet trying to take my socks off without using my hands.

It's in these moments of sweet ennui that I begin to think about my lawn. It's not a bad lawn. However, in comparison to my neighbor's lawn it needs a lot of attention. Ted, my neighbor, has the archetypical suburban carpet of perfectly clipped, deep green grass. Some of his perfect lawn has actually migrated into my backyard making the delineation between the good and the bad less severe. But the contrast is still there and it's, unfortunately, a stark one.

So I want my entire lawn to look like Ted's this year. After all, a nice lawn is a statement for passersby that says I've worked hard to own a house and I'm willing to put forth the effort to maintain it. And then there's this: If every house in the neighborhood was on fire the fire department could only save some of the houses, not all of them. . . How would they choose which ones to save?

I'm certain the firefighters would point their hoses at the homes with nice lawns. They would know that losing a home would have a greater impact on the nice lawn people because, obviously, they care much more than their neighbors with the raggedy-ass turf.

My lawn is important to me because, if I keep it nice, it will prevent my house and family from being consumed by an enormous fire that will destroy the rest of my neighborhood.

No comments: