So I insist on getting these dandelions out by hand rather than use chemicals. And theoretically it’s all beautiful and environmentally-friendly but in practice I’m bending over and my back aches as I’m digging the bastards out of the grass, knowing full well that later I’ll be immobile and begging my kids to find the Motrin and that, overnight, while I convalesce, those weeds will breed like the evil destroyers of American happiness that they are and by morning will have re-infected the entire planet.
One of my psychology professors–who gave his lectures sitting in the Lotus position on top of a large science table—said that there was some reason to believe that the migrant workers that came to California from Mexico to pick strawberries and tomatoes and artichokes were actually healthier mentally and physically simply because through their daily labor they lived each day getting in touch both with nature and with their own bodies.
But I’m definitely not getting that from this experience.
All I’m feeling is that I might have been a bit hasty in my desire to save the planet because not even my smugness is helping me stand up straight.
Meanwhile, on the other team, my youngest daughter says “But I like dandelions. They’re pretty”, which basically reminds me that we need more irrational ranting in our house (‘Pretty’, Livy? ‘PRETTY’?!! Would you like some help pulling your head out of your ass? Because shit’s getting totally real out there in the yard, OK?!!!) because certainly any normal person can see the value in what I’m doing. Certainly she understands that we can’t allow Nature to spread her demonic spores up and down Kensington Avenue; certainly she gets the societal ostracization that will occur should our lawn pursue its normal-operating-procedure of growing to mismatched heights. We must fight Nature, Livy. She obviously needs our help; after all, just look at the absolute mess she’s made by creating all these “weeds”.
While I’m weeding, my neighbor and his landlord are outside prepping their sprinkler system for the start of the grass year, checking all the junctions, digging up dirt to replace a sprinkler head, and testing and retesting the system and all its pipes and hoses, their yard immaculate and edged and dandelion-free, as they spend the better part of two hours micromanaging the distribution of the most valuable, rapidly-diminishing natural resource our planet has (water) so as to provide nourishment in this high-desert climate to the carpet of green that dogs will eventually walk by and shit on.
And we’re so ridiculous, we humans. And if I were Nature, I’d want to fuck with our lawns too.
In the last part of my job, “More Than This” by Roxy Music comes on,
and before digging it up, I take a picture of the last dandelion.
And she’s right,
It is kinda pretty,
And the song lows
“More than this,
you know there’s nothing
more than this.”
And it’s sunny and warm, and there is this incredible pattern of clouds in the sky and I stand up and lean against Julia’s car, and remember that scene in Lost in Translation, and hobble in the house, and convalesce.
And the next day, come out to find dandelions
all over yard.