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There comes a point in every man’s life where it becomes necessary to “check out” (so to speak) from the rigors of everyday life. I’m not talking about your twenties when you’ve had a bad day at work and you walk into your living room to pack up a bowl of leafy greens and watch Netflix, though.
I’m referring to the period of time in the not so distant future, where you have a live-in wife or girlfriend and possibly a child or two. In this situation, the option to spark up a bowl of marijuana just isn’t possible, and drinking to numb the pain of cubicle life is no longer an attractive option.
For a long while I couldn’t understand why my dad spent several hours pretty much every Saturday during the spring and summer working meticulously outside of our home, picking up debris, mowing the back and front yard surrounding the house with surgical precision, and electing to lay mulch himself instead of hiring an outfit to do it for him. I would watch from the living room as he mowed back and forth, the lawn a blank canvas, sometimes sipping a beer and looking utterly content.
At the moment, I do not have the privilege of living somewhere where yardwork is required and I’m nowhere close to having a wife, children, or house with a picket fence and yard. But that dream has always been there, even if I wasn’t fully aware of it. To murder a couple garter snakes with the blades of a brand new Craftsman lawn mower is a goal that we should all have.
I can understand why, for a man of certain age, yard work is very comparable to smoking a bowl. Throughout high school and college, I would volunteer to mow the lawn for my dad whenever I was available, and every single time he would snicker and decline. I’d look at him quizzically, blissfully unaware that to him, mowing the lawn was not a chore. It was an opportunity to get away from everything and everyone if only for an hour or two.
I’ve been able to mow the lawn at my parents home only a handful of times in my life, simply because whenever I do it my dad goes out after I’ve finished to inspect the lawn and critique the work I’ve done like it’s some sort of contest.
I’ve always been a fan of mowing diagonally, but it’s never quite as symmetrical as when my father does it. At the moment, I am itching to go back to Michigan for a weekend and enjoy the trappings that suburban life has to offer. I want to golf at a semi-respectable municipal course and visit a bar where a round of four drinks costs ten dollars, but most importantly I want to mow the lawn. I know that sounds strange but I am really, really looking forward to getting behind a mower and maybe even doing a bit of edge trimming when I’ve finished up.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a yard big enough to warrant a riding mower, but I’d have to imagine guys with that much land can polish off anywhere from four to six domestic beers in the time it takes to complete such a task.
Last night I dreamt of walking on a freshly mowed lawn in my bare feet. This dream was probably a combination of The Masters ending and the fact that I haven’t seen a real, physical lawn in months because I haven’t left Chicago, but either way I am due for a weekend outside of the concrete jungle. Hopefully, my dad will take pity on me and let me mow his lawn in the next few weeks..