Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Weeds? What weeds?

On the Fourth of July, I took Buddy out for his usual morning walk when what should I find in our driveway but a sofa. A dirty, beat-up, stained and tattered gray sofa. Because our next door neighbor rents rooms in his house and I'd seen a U-Haul truck parked there the day before, I thought that one of the tenants had either moved in and didn't have room for the sofa so they left it in our driveway, or that a tenant had moved out and didn't have room for the sofa in the truck. The difficulty with those theories was that the sofa was perfectly placed flush to the street and centered in the driveway. It didn't look like a "dump job" to me.

When I got back from Buddy's walk, I saw our neighbor directly across the street working in her front yard. So I asked her if she'd seen anything the night before.

"No," said Mary, a retired woman whom I've often seen working in her yard but who I haven't really talked to before, "I didn't see anything. But maybe somebody just dumped it there thinking the house wasn't being lived in, you know, because of all the weeds in the yard."

This was one of those moments when one's mind races to find the appropriate response. Obviously, the remark was not an absent-minded, unintentional insult, but rather meant as a none-too-subtle dig. But how to react. "Screw you, you crusty old whore!" I thought might be a bit much. "Well, some of use aren't comfortable with the tremendous waste of time and resources needed to keep up a so-manicured-it-looks-fake yard," was another choice, but too long-winded. And I didn't necessarily want to make an enemy. So I gritted my teeth and pussed out. "Well, I admit yardwork isn't a high priority for me..."and I played the pity card (which I'm not proud of) "...because I've got a rebuilt hip and a lot of crouching is really painful...(which is true)...but thanks, anyway."

OK. First of all, the photo above is of our BACK yard where the garden used to be. I included here for shock value. No one, not even us, can see it. The front of the house actually looks like this:

Alright, granted, the sidewalk needs a good sweeping and the post-bloom flowers need dead-heading. But it's hardly the forest primeval and the lawn IS mowed. Argotnaut suggested we respond by just paving the whole thing. Actually that's probably not a bad idea from an allergen reduction standpoint.

But what I'd really like to do is make the front yard look like the back, complete with lazy hillbilly dog:

"Y'all come on over here so's I can bite ya some" (smeck, smeck, yawn)

Or better yet, she can talk to my cat, Joe Pesci:

"You want weeds? I got your weeds right HERE!"

But I'll probably really respond by just tidying the yard up a bit. NOT A LOT, mind you, but a bit.

And as for the couch, it turns out it was the work of miserable teenagers. Its owner lives down the block and came to the front door to explain that the positioning of the sofa was a prank played on him by some teenagers. Those darn kids! The sofa has now been returned to its rightful place. But after that crack by our neighbor across the street, I might replace the sofa with a chifforobe and a rusty truck up on blocks.


argotnaut said...

Pink flamingos and bendovers, I tell you.

liz said...

Lots of grimy, oversized plastic children's toys and a pile of empty cat food cans.

And don't forget to leave the mower out on the grass between mowings for easy access!

liz said...

...I almost forgot--it's just not complete without a clothesline!

Devon said...

This reminds me: A friend of mine was once mistaken for a homeless panhandler in Boulder when someone came up and put some money in hand. At the time, he had a house and steady job (still does)!

Andrew said...

Argotnaut and I have discussed putting up a clothesline in back to dry clothes naturally -- the European style. But now I might have to consider putting it in the front! Too bad we don't have a car, because I think car parts strewn about a weedy lot is near the zenith of the trashy scale. I suppose a bunch of bike parts might work nearly as well. And a bunch of plastic kitty litter containers!

Andrew said...

And some rusty dumbells!

tavia Rowan said...

You guys ALL live too far from Appalachia!! It is the ruined -- sorry, "roont" WASHING MACHINE that is the piece de resistance of the hillbilly yard.