Tuesday, May 22, 2007

30 Under 30 #6: No one rides for free

If you've seen my house by daylight lately, you've seen my lawn. An ersatz swampland of grass and dandelions, and some sort of wildflowers not yet classified by modern science. A celebration of all that is wild and unruly. A rock'n'roll lawn.
But no more, dear friends, no more. The trouble began, as trouble always does, on Saturday.
"What are we going to do about the lawn?" Nicole asked.
We've never owned a lawnmower, having lived in apartment buildings back in Regina. And even if we had, I don't think we would have brought one with us.
A quick survey of the house revealed no outdoor plug-ins, which meant that our only two options were manual or gas, and who wants one more thing to pour gas into?
So I walked down to the hardware store on the drive. No mowers. The tool rental place had gas mowers, but not at this location. Anyway, soon it would be dark and when it's dark, no one cares about your lawn.
On Sunday, Nicole fired up Cragslist. We decided that we wanted to spend less than $30, which was something of an arbitrary figure, but then again, this was something of an arbitrary lawn.
Vintage, rotating blade grass cutter

In working condition, great for edging

Made in the USA

price is negotiable, but please no low balls

Twenty dollars. Email was sent, email was received.

Thank you for your interest. I have a competing offer for $20, but for $23, I'll consider it sold.

More emails. An address. White Rock. King George Hwy and a map. Whalley is the scariest place on earth. Even the civil planners are on crystal out there. Anyway, White Rock. We pull up. Hand over the money, pick up the mower.
"I actually just posted it on Craigslist as a joke. I didn't think anybody would that old thing," says teenaged seller.
He noticed Nicole's Sask. plates. "You guys came all the way from Saskatchewan for a push mower?"
"Yeah, basically."
"You guys should go to the beach while you're out here. But don't go to White Rock Beach, it's too commercialized," says the guy who just sold us a $23 push mower. "You should check out Crescent Beach."
So we did. We got gelatto and strolled in the sand. The tide was out. The tide was far out. It was windy, but nice. I enjoyed the mix of stupid modern homes and friendly clapboard post-war shacks. It reminded me of Pike Lake. Only with gelatto.
We came home. Pushed the mower around in the front yard a bit. The blades are only about 8-inches wide. Even with our tiny front yard, this was going to be some job.

So today, wearing my red shirt, I went out and mowed the lawn with gusto. Some blades were as high as my knee and the ground was still soft in spots from the weekend's rain. It was a disaster. I have blisters all over my hands, and the neighbours were laughing. Several times I thought of giving up, but mowing the lawn is one of those things you have to do all the way through. Nothing screams "jackass" like a half-mowed lawn.

Now that I'm done, the lawn looks worse than ever. It reminds me of the haircut I gave myself in the tenth grade. At the time, I was sporting a lucsiously shaggy, grungy do (as was the fashion in those halcyon days), and I took scissors to it haphazardly one Friday night. I suppose I did it because I was angry, but I don't remember what I was angry about. I was a teenager, I didn't need a reason. I didn't know how good I had it. I even had an electric mower.

MP3: "Burgers and Fries" by Weird War

No comments: