get off your lawn (a Broken World story)
You never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Take my neighbor for example. He has five children, three boys and two girls, and only an acre of land, but last year his lawn would go unmowed for weeks at a time.
I was embarrassed for him.
This year he put his foot down. Apparently anyway. Like I said, you never know for sure.
It started the way it had for the previous summers, the occasional mow followed by long stretches of non-mowing. His lawn looked shaggy more often than it looked neat.
But then something must have changed because I’d see the kids out there mowing regularly. His lawn looked great.
Then I’d see them more than regularly. Almost too frequently. The grass barely had enough time to grow when one or the other of them would be out there mowing away.
Eventually there was one of them mowing every day.
Every damn day. Their lawn looked like the greens at Augusta National. It got to the point where I wouldn’t have batted an eyebrow if I saw Rory Mcllroy taking putting practice on my neighbor’s front lawn.
What could he have said to his kids? Was it an impassioned plea to their conscience or did he resort to threats?
Damn those closed doors. This was definitely atypical behavior and those of us who lived next door really deserved answers.
None were coming.
And then they started mowing twice a day. I’d hear the mower spring to life in the morning and then again as I sat down to dinner.
Even when it rained.
And then something else must have happened, something that I was not privy too, something dramatic or traumatic or just matic, something that had the five kids mowing constantly from sunup to sundown. They would just hand off the mower to each other throughout the whole day. They occasionally drive off to fill up the multiple gas canisters necessary for such this constant assault on their lawn, but other than that they’d disappear behind those impenetrable closed doors until it was their turn to again emerge refreshed and hydrated and ready to keep the mowing going. (the Mowing Going sounds like a college radio show)
That constant drone of the mower was like a giant mosquito you couldn’t swat away. So annoying and so constant that it eventually just became the soundtrack to being outside.
What had happened behind those doors? What conversations led to this? Was this an act of rebellion or punishment or social experiment or high art on the part of the five children?
And why would I make a golf reference when I hate golf? And why does sundown look perfectly normal but sunup look all wrong? If you pronounce it as it’s spelled it doesn’t sound like sun up. Did it see Mcllroy and figure anything goes?
Are things that you don’t understand all piled up in front of you like dominos waiting to fall?
Is that what this was all about? Was my neighbor as perplexed as I was or was he a conspirator?
I began to suspect the latter when a truck appeared and unloaded four more lawn mowers onto the driveway. The other four non-mowing-at-the-time kids sprung from the house as if Christmas had come early. They descended on the boxes like locust and soon had all four assembled and topped up with gas.
And then…this part gets difficult to impart as to just how surreal it was… all four of the mowers roared to life and the five smiling kids started mowing together in a line. I stood on my deck and watched, my mouth agape.
I realize that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors, but this was ridiculous. Dominos started to fall. Out to and past the horizon.
“Seven can play at that game” I said to myself and retreated inside.