When I bought my house nearly 15 years ago, I was the young buck on the street. GF, no kids, rather simple life. Parties most weekends. Had friends over to reno the majority of the house as it was owned by an 80 year old who kept it like most 80 year olds did. Neighbours were a mix of older parents, most 15 – 25 years older than me. Of the 40 or so houses on my dead end street, 4 of them have been resold multiple times, and only 4 others have been sold in 15 years. It’s getting older around here.
Life goes on, I get married, have kids and the neighbourhood has grown up around me. A large chunk of the street is now retired folk, very few kids. And what retired folks have in abundance is time. And people with time fill it with all sorts of things.
The easiest way to find the retired people is to look at their lawn in the spring or driveways in the winter. There are fields of yellow dandelions up and down my street, with pockets of pure green. It’s even funnier when two neighbours share a lawn without a fence – you can see the clean division. The people with green lawns spend hours meticulously manicuring their lawns. Whether for their amusement or competition with the others is a good question.
So here I am mowing the lawn (I guess it’s still considered a lawn) the other day and looking out and about. I’m sweating like crazy in the humidity, amazed that I am even finding time to mow it once a week. And then trying to napkin math out the effort required to get it pristine, let alone maintain it.
Then I come to the realization that the lawn is pretty much the most important thing in their lives, or at least the thing that they spend the most time working on. My grandfather is an active person, always out and about. I can’t ever recall his lawn being this shade of green or ever being weed-free. He never had time for it because he was busy doing other stuff.
This isn’t a judgment on what the people are focusing on, if they value their lawn and never leave the house, that’s up to them. Just because I don’t share that particular obsession, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s the definition of “their own backyard” after all.
Here I am, mowing the lawn & weeds cause it just needs to be done, as a step to doing the things I really want to do. Then I’ll pack up some food and drinks, head up to the cottage and enjoy the outdoors. Do some social distancing with the neighbours. Plant the garden. Get in the boat and fish with the family. Play some boardgames, and have a pint around the campfire. The weeds will be there when I get back. And I’ll let the Joneses worry about their own lawn.
Due to the unusual configuration of my neighborhood, I have an intimate view of 8 different neighboring lawns:
() 2 Retiree families that keep their lawn well mowed and weeded.
() 1 Renting family and a landlord that does the absolute minimum to not get yelled at by the city for lawn neglect.
() 1 Family who make their teenager mow the lawn. It’s done poorly.
() 1 Family who pays someone else to mow their lawn. It’s almost as bad as the teenager-mowed one.
() 1 Family who barely has a lawn because they’ve installed a ginormous vegetable and herb garden.
() 1 Family who turned most of their lawn into dirt and gravel.
() 1 Family who has grown giant trees (with a treehouse), a large swing set, perfectly manicured flowerbeds, etc.
I’ve barely met any of my neighbors and I feel like I already understand a lot of their personalities.
Sorry, that’s way too much about my neighbors.
Takes a lot of variety to make a garden. Neighbors can be fascinating. Fun read 🙂
You’re nonchalantly mowing the lawn with what looks like a giant twister bearing down on you. Am I missing something?….