Where the practice of lawn maintenance is concerned, a couple of my neighbors strike me as a little … what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yes. Now I remember: Crazy.
(To be fair: I’m pretty sure they think the same thing about me, and for more reasons than the condition of my lawn. And they’d be right.)
My neighbors are nice guys, but evidently they think lawn care is the key to a happy retirement. They’re out there every day waging war against the weeds and casting worried glances my way in case the crabgrass in my yard decides to move to their decidedly greener pastures.
It makes no sense to me. As much as they seem to enjoy yard work — the digging, the seeding, the weeding, the feeding, the mowing, the trimming, the edging and whatever else they’re out there doing all day, every day, from early spring to late autumn — I detest it. In fact, my dislike of lawn work is well documented, as is my constant search for ways to get out of it.
For a minute, I thought I might follow the lead of the Ohio woman I read about recently who was cited by the authorities in her township for letting her lawn return to its natural state. Personally, I thought it was kind of cool — a mini-tallgrass prairie right in her front yard. Thirteen hundred people saw her essay and wrote to The Washington Post to talk about their own lawn experiences. I believe the words “soul-crushing timesuck” were employed.
But then I read that all she’s really done is stop mowing. She’s still out here pulling weeds, which made me a little less enthusiastic about following her lead. That’s more work than I want to do. Besides, weeds are the only things that really grow well on my lot.
So I don’t want to do lawn work, but I live in a neighborhood where lawns matter (see above under: insane neighbors) and a homeowner must, by ordinance, keep things tidy.
This is why I have recently engaged the services of a service to do the mowing and trimming.
Which makes me feel incredibly guilty.
For this, you may blame my Northern Indiana McKenzie family upbringing with its constant preaching about self-reliance and never paying to have someone else do what you can do and any number of equally annoying messages that all boil down to “get off your lazy butt and get to work.”
I try to assuage my guilty conscience by telling myself that the lawn service is doing a thorough and professional job, that I am helping the economy by supporting a small local business, that it doesn’t really cost much and is money well-spent when I consider the aggravation I’m saving.
I also allow myself to fantasize a little that my neighbors, nursing sore backs and blistered hands, see the lawn service cutting my grass and feel a little pang of jealousy. It isn’t happening, but I like to think it.
In fact, when I’m not feeling guilty I rather enjoy the experience of having someone else do the yard work for me. Maybe I should think about hiring a housekeeper, too. After all, I hate running the vacuum almost as much as I hate running the mower.
Nah. The guilt would drive me crazy. OK, crazier.