Monday, June 04, 2007

don't blow your cover (gasket)

Or, "The Exposing of My Flesh Through The Poverty Culture, Chapter 89"

Somehow or another, the whole undercover role with the poverty culture has been easy for me. Maybe even a joke.

And it is a joke, really. It's not as if we're starving with some bushman village in West Africa or living with violence in the Watts district of LA. It's the fair mother city (Abilene, Texas). Poor people are pretty nice and easy going. And relatively safe.

I like to think I have long abandoned all aspects of my suburban upbringing. All but one.

I still like mowing the lawn. It was always assumed while growing up that people who didn't mow their lawns were lazy and/or trashy. Whatever...but I like a manicured yard anyway.

The first couple of years here in this undisclosed neighborhood we call home, keeping my yard neat was not a problem. We acquired a 17 year old Honda mower (el primo, but old) and I bought some $69 weed eater (minor get what you pay for).

Two years ago the mower went out. I had it repaired but the repairman said that it wouldn't be worth repairing again, if possible. Then it went out again last summer. So, I've been borrowing various neighbor's mowers ever since.

My weed eater quit that same year. When the repairman saw it, he laughed and said it would be cheaper for me to buy a new one just like it than to pay his hourly rate. But The Tiger later fixed it using some parts he found in his yard. He's fixed it several times. Now it's beyond The Tiger's repair. And nobody in the neighborhood has one to borrow. They don't trim or edge their yard anyway.

Yeah, I know. In this emergent, neo-monastic, purpose-driven, "community" bullshit society everybody's promoting lately, borrowing stuff is suppose to be cool. You know, less consumerism and less ownership, more "community" and all that.

The truth is, borrowing stuff sucks. Especially lawn mowers.

The Sanford's and us have long had a sharing relationship. We go into each other's backyard and get what we need when we need it. We still give a courteous "ask" even though one tells the other not to ask and just go get it.

The Sanford's always have mowers. Usually they're $5 specials from garage sales. This year they actually had the nicest mower they ever owned...until the handle went all wobbly because a bolt fell loose and was lost. I've rigged it with the best I could find, but the handle still sucks. Now, it's so bad it's impossible to use

Then they got another mower: an old rear bagger model that worked great. While I was using it for the first time, I thanked the CEO under my breath for letting me use a mower that was halfway decent. And before I finished that half-assed prayer, the back wheel broke in half and fell off.


Obi-Wan has two mowers. Both are real old and crappy, but work somehow. I used them to maintain his yard until his son Lamont took over that chore. The last time I used his mowers, one of them just quit and wouldn't work anymore.

With both of my tillers out, my mower, weed eater, and now Obi-Wan's mower, he thinks I'm too rough on power equipment. the time I get hold of most lawn equipment it's like...20 freaking years old and shitty. I work with power equipment for a living. I blow dry air filters by hand every day...

All this to say...I'm learning to live with a yard that's not always primo or immaculate. I know, I know. It's not the end of the freaking world. 2000 people starve to death daily. North Korea kills their citizens for not worshiping a photo of their leader. Who the hell cares if my lawn gets long and crappy? It'll blend in with everyone else's on my street anyway.

Lawn mowing is a stupid topic, but it's the last suburban quality in me. It's hard to let go...


mike said...

i have a friend in our church who is a mechanical genius/inventor type. he made a comment just the other day about how he stays away from two strokes.

borrowing does suck.

i am intrigued by the idea of you mowing your lawn. for some reason it just seems weird that i know someone who has a lawn.

Deana Watson said...

You guys have a craigslist now...maybe someone has a mower for free or real cheap. Check it out.

We don't have a lawn either...well the front we don't mow the neighborhood does. But I think the next time I have to mow I would like one of those old fashioned puh mowers like in the cartoons...just that round wheel of blades. :)

Agent B said...

Deana - thanks for trying to offer a solution. I've been checking around for used mowers a while. Not exactly something I have money to spend on, but who knows...

And I was unaware the Abilene finally got a craigslist. About time.

Mark said...

do those simple metal push mowers they used in the 40's and 50's still exist? would they do the trick?

Agent B said...

Mark - I am a Texan. I would feel like a total faggot with one of those...

Borrowing crappy mowers is an adventure anyway.

Leanne said...

I own one of those push mowers from the 40's-50's.


When I'm mowing my front and back lawn and the grip on the handle is causing blisters and I'm sucking air because my lawn is uneven and the mower jams when I have to go over the septic tank (which causes me to crash into the handle w/ my pelvis), I tell myself that it could always be worse.

Then, I put on my hair shirt and praise Jesus that I'm not plowing fields for my daily bread in Ethiopia.

I've had a crappy yard for almost 2 years and it's one of the biggest indicators of my flesh there is. I only care about my lawn and how it looks because for some stupid reason I think my yard is a reflection of me.

btw-found you through Dustin who was introduced to me by Laurie. I know Deana too! How funny!

Loved this post!

Agent B said...

Thanks Leanne. Yes, small (blogging) world...

Leanne said...

That wasn't me ranking on you, btw. Just me mocking myself. Didn't want you to think I crashed your blog and then judged you too ;)