I confess that I tell stories in manner that some might call “exaggerated.” I prefer to think of it as “humorously emphasized,” but I’m not going to quibble right now. The important matter is this: I’m not exaggerating the depths of absurdity to which my life recently fell. Or, to put it in more impressive terms: what follows is a factual account of our lawn’s devious schemes, which nearly earned victory in the Great Lawn War.
Yet another way to say it is: for the first time in my life, I’ve been saved via deus ex machina.
Those who have followed the story know that the situation was dire. Our lawn had nearly reached the height at which it would be allowed on rides at amusement parks. I had exhausted my supply of mowers, and a great many other people’s supplies of mowers too. Our repair center had finally loaned us an intimidating modern machine in the hopes that it could save us, but the lawn looked even more intimidating. When I’ve disastrously failed at something enough times, I stop wanting to try again. (On a related note, I now refuse to do just about everything.)
Yesterday morning though I decided that the time had come, that enough was enough, that a line needed to be drawn, and a great many other cliché things. Clichés are like eating butter; they put meat on your bones, and I needed meaty bones to face the yard finally. I planned my entire day around it. That was my first mistake. In my life “planning” is a fancy way of describing what will never happen. It can be a fun game however, because my plans always fail in curious ways.
Yesterday’s curiosity involved our car; specifically, it went crazy. I was driving to the grocery store, trying to get my errands out of the way early, when the windshield washer mechanism started to whir. We were out of washer fluid, so it was more odd than inconvenient, but then the windshield washer button on the steering column broke. Rather, it launched itself out of place into my hand. Unfortunately, its presence had apparently been the only thing keeping the windshield wipers from getting involved, so they started swiping back and forth, squeaking loudly across the dry window.
Thus I found myself driving through town, holding the button pieces I had managed to catch, with my car’s windshield wipers flailing noisily for no reason. Then my daughter started to cry from the backseat, because she didn’t like the squeaking. Then I started to cry from the front seat. Do I need to give more reasons?
In any event, I didn’t get to attack the lawn yesterday because I instead tried (and disastrously failed) to fix our car, then took it to the mechanic. I think it’s clear that that was our lawn’s intent. It destroyed a car to stop me from mowing.
Today it struck a computer. I woke up with lawn care ambitions again, and it needed to prevent them. As the bulk of my business today involved writing a post, my laptop became an obvious target. It’s also possible that my lawn has taken offense to this series, and was expressing it’s displeasure. In any event, my laptop died this morning.
A normal (read “well-adjusted”) person might take that in stride, but I’m a writer. Apart from my family, the “My Documents” folder on my laptop pretty much represents my entire life. (We can discuss how I ought to be more diligent about backing up data, but not in the middle of my harrowing narrative, silly people.) Thus, after I spent hours fretting and laboring to recover whatever I could, it seemed as though the lawn might escape again.
Except that the lawn attacked my computer. To get the full effect, you have to imagine Bruce Willis in one of the Die Hard films explaining that terrorists had attacked his family and that he took that sort of thing personally. The lawn had crossed a line, so clearly I’m just like Bruce Willis’ character in those films, minus the physique, ingenuity, tenacity, and guns. Those differences are trifles; you should always imagine me like Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
I was determined not to let the lawn win. I strapped on my manliest manly boots and went outside to mow. Of course, my boots were rather unfortunately accompanied by a slightly outgrown pair of jean shorts and floppy t-shirt, but that shouldn’t matter because you’re all picturing Bruce Willis, right?
Also unfortunately, the loaner mower has clearly never seen any Bruce Willis film. It didn’t overcome adversity; it stopped trying. It didn’t even put up a good fight; it had stalled 32 times before I stopped counting, and then it just gave up. It was as though, rather than fighting criminals, John McClane realized that he didn’t have shoes and so spent the rest of Die Hard asleep in the bathroom.
After that I was inclined to admit defeat. I didn’t know what else to try. I was even willing to make concessions if the lawn would just stop destroying everything we owned. For example, we could have let grass grow in our guest bedroom and half of the kitchen.
Then strangers came by on tractors.
It’s possible that they were angels, although that would be disturbing because our lawn managed to resist even them. They had only made one pass when we stopped hearing the assertive rumble of their conquest. We looked out the window, and to our chagrin they had taken the cover off of one of the tractors and were looking at its engine with concern. (At that point my wife turned to me and exclaimed: “I thought your posts were joking!”) Still, a couple of hours later, our lawn is nicely trimmed.
Sure, we have no way to mow it again, and we’re going to need to in just a couple of days, but that’s a couple of days away. Tonight we sleep the sleep of victory, or at least the sleep of people who watched strangers with heavy equipment achieve victory in a battle that had bested us at every turn and broken all of our most expensive possessions.
Sleep is sleep though.