Every day this week, my neighborhood roars from morning to late afternoon with the sounds of power tools. Mowers, edgers, blowers, whiffers, whaffers, that thing-that-digs-up-your-lawn-and-makes-it-look-like-geese-crapped-all-over-it, but is somehow good for it. (Oh yeah, an aerator.) My neighbors will be doing their second mow of the season this weekend. We have yet to do our first.
It’s not that we don’t care about our lawn. We do. We just don’t care that much. Once again, we’ve found ourselves out of step with our neighbors.
For much of my life, I found myself living near at least one person who objected to lawn care as bourgeois bullshit. You know the type: Obsession with a weed-free patch of grass in front of one’s house is the ultimate distraction from the stuff in life that really matters, and so they opt out. That “the stuff that really matters” tends to be “sitting in front of the TV watching basketball” is only evidence of their superior sensibilities. And so they let their lawn grow long and shaggy, and sometimes they glance out the front window and say, “Thank God I’m a Libertarian, and above all this shit.”
To these people I have but one thing to say: Move to Mongo. (Mongo is a small town in northern Indiana, but in this usage it’s more representative of that outback town where civilization is always kept at bay. In the 1980s and ’90s, when the city of Fort Wayne was aggressively annexing its urbanized, unincorporated neighborhoods, a knot of whiny individualists could always be counted on to write tiresome letters to the editor about the changing city-limits sign. These missives always contained some version of the line, “But Marge and I moved here five years ago to get away from the city,” as though buying a three-bedroom house in a subdivision where volunteer soybeans still occasionally sprout in the back yard, close enough to the city limits to lengthen one’s commute by no more than eight minutes, gave one an eternal claim to some sort of “country” life. A colleague and I came up with “Move to Mongo” as a way to say, “If you really want to get away from it all, then get away from it all. And stop complaining”)
In matters of the lawn, as in so many things, I’m a committed moderate. You will never catch me out there fretting over crabgrass and dandelions, but I accept that I live in a neighborhood, and neighborhoods only look as good as their crummiest property, and I promise not to be that property. I will never be the nicest one, either, but I’ll do my part.
Here in the GP, we find ourselves falling closer to the libertarian end of the spectrum. People here tend their landscaping with the tender loving care of a pothead with hydroponics. Some people here simply live to putter in the yard. Most of our neighbors have automatic sprinkler systems, which go on at 5 a.m. with a loud, sibilant hiss, awakening certain late-staying-up journalists in the neighborhood, not that I am complaining. But it’s damn hard to keep up with these folks, so I don’t try. “Maintenance-free landscaping” — there’s a Realtor’s phrase to steal my heart. We’ll have to get the mower out this weekend at the very latest, or risk becoming Those People. We’ll hold up our end, keeping up, if not with the Joneses, than certainly the Smiths.
Whew. This week has been less-than-good, but at least I now have new prescription bottles littering the coffee table. I’m asking Kate to “bring Mommy her medication” so that she’ll have lots of good stories to tell her therapist. As soon as I can teach her to mix a daiquiri, she’ll be well on her way.
When it comes to colorful, you really can’t beat a colorful lawyer. The DC Madam’s mouthpiece is a case in point:
You do a computerized database news search for Sibley, and what you get is information on his representation of Arthur Vanmoor, better known as the aforementioned “Big Pimping Pappy.”
BPP ran an escort service in Fort Lauderdale a few years back. He got busted and deported (he’s Dutch), then sued his clients for having sex with his employees. Sibley was his attorney.
It was the same tactic Sibley is using now to advise Palfrey: The manager of BPP’s escort service was merely providing “quality time with a quality woman,” Sibley told MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson in an on-camera interview in March 2006. Customers had to sign a receipt saying they wouldn’t engage in illegal sexual activity. If they did, then they broke the law.
Sibley sued them for breach of contract.
Let’s go to the videotape:
Carlson: “You sound like you look down on these men. That they would somehow get the idea that just because you call an escort service . . . and have a girl in a tube top and a vinyl skirt come over to your hotel room — that somehow they got the idea sex was involved. You sound like you’re unimpressed with their judgment.”
Sibley: “Well, Tucker, is that what the girls look like that come to your hotel room?”
Carlson: “I don’t have girls come to my hotel room who I’m not married to.”
I don’t know about you, but when I saw that Joan Baez was getting some ink earlier this week, claiming military officials refused to let her perform for the troops, I had a few questions, including:
1) Joan Baez is still performing?
2) Someone wants her to perform for them?
3) People young enough to be soldiers? Come on.
Well, it’s more complicated than that. The invitation was extended by famous Hoosier grump John Melly-mel Cougar Mellencamp, to “play with him,” suggesting a role shaking a tambourine and singing backup on “Small Town,” not crooning “Joe Hill” in her own soprano warble. Whew. I was fearing a comeback tour.
Have a great weekend. Back, and feeling better I hope, next week.