Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Incivility of Yardwork

[Bil here: guest posting]
I had an unexpected thought today as I was weed eating the front lawn:

I am ready to relinquish my right to own a front yard.

Just look at this picture of Pemberley; see this yard? Two words: Grounds keeper. Something I'll never be able to afford. Granted, this immaculate green vision is probably the result of a riding lawn mover that's 12 feet wide with a cup holder; I can't even begin to imagine what maintaining this place was like back in the day before mechanical mowing machines. I picture a rowdy, boisterous crew with shears and scythes crawing back and forth, back and forth...some cynical motley mess with green teeth (from times the scythe was too dull)... a truly miserable manifestation to behold... an embodiment of the phrase "our work is never done."

As much as I would love to have a beautiful yard, though it is much smaller than Pemberly, it would take a grounds keeper to get it looking like it doesn't need any more work. Maybe a small grounds keeper would do nicely.

On second thought, maybe it's high time I invented the Roomba for the front yard. That would be a lot more fun than actually doing the yard work itself. Hey, don't laugh, if I was a grad student, that would be a viable doctorate project. Seriously! Check out this graduate project, I'm sure it cost a small fortune (Maybe $50k by my guess just looking at the high quality robotics in the arms) and what does it do?

It folds laundry.

It doesn't even do it very quickly.

Something for the truly lazy college student who happens to be well funded.

Now what would I call my yardwork wonder? Don't say it: "Yardba" stinks. So does "Lawnba." Maybe something to evoke the true man-machine relationship in the face of mind-numbing servility. How about, "HeyYou"?

OK, back to my original point. My yard can just be so unsatisfying to work on...I feel like I work for hours, and I get absolutely nowhere with it. I just want to burn it and start all over. Let's up that, I want to wake up to a beep, beep, beep that isn't my alarm clock, but a cement mixer backing up ready to pour its payload and turn the whole thing into a basketball court.

Oh no, even in my reverie, I turned my back for a second, and weeds are already sprouting up through the cracks in the cement. [Arggh!]

Here's a thought: we'll move to Chicago/New York/Los Angeles. Some big city where I couldn't possibly expect to find a front yard any bigger than a postage stamp. And when I see urbanites who are all stressed out, irately punching away at their blackberries on the public transportation, I'll be all primed to bellow like a subway preacher-- "You have no greenery, you fools! You should be as laid back as Haight-Ashbury! Look at these knees!! (etc.)"

Yes, many things are more satisfying than peering over my wasted morning in the front yard. Maybe I could lease it out for political signage. Heck, plant corn, even. It would be nice to have something that would grow taller than the weeds. Maybe if I get started now, I'll get "HeyYou" built and debugged before next Mother's Day. With a beautiful stretch of effortless front yard before us, with all the time I'll be saving, and all of the stress I'll not stressing about, maybe there'll be more time for some good old fashioned Pemberly role-playing with the wife, (you got me)?

Send the children to their governess!

Don some frilly shirts and hold impromptu harpsichord recitals for two!

Say frilly things like " not general incivility the very essense of love, Darling?" over bubbling libations and fruit-laden angel food cakes.

As I peer over the top of the glass with a come-hither look, I see it returned.

...Incivility indeed.


Evenspor said...

A roomba-type thing for the front yard would be so great.

We were excited when we moved into our house about how much lawn it haf. Now we're thinking of keeping just one or two key areas of grass and xeriscaping the rest, especially since water prisec here recently tripled.

danette said...

lol, actually I'm thinking "Lawnba" isn't so bad but "hey you" works too :).

Elizabeth Channel said...

I feel your pain now that we are mowing 1.3 acres of weeks with a push mower. I need a Lawnba now!

Sarah said...

You should see our palacious estate (rolling eyes big time). We are fortunate to have beautiful trees but no luck growing grass around these beauties. So on really windy days, our yard resembles the Dust Bowl.

Amy said...

Actually Bil, I could see that fiesty redhead of yours and you doing the Pemberly role-playing you described! what a hoot! and, gee, I have a bunch of plants/flowers I was thinking of offering to Patty... hmmm..... ;-)filiest

Mrsbear said...

Eventually the kids will be old enough to entrust with a push mower and you can sit back in the shade, sipping lemonade and supervising...What are the chances? I usually fold the clothes just because the kids seem to do it slower than that robot...

My husband would totally buy a Lawnba.