Isn’t there a proverb about serving revenge cold? I know that Khan uses it in Star Trek 2, which is evidence enough for me. Maybe my lawn was quoting Khan. The similarities are a bit disturbing, actually. Both Khan and my lawn tended toward melodrama, both Khan and my lawn had superior intellects–albeit one was relative to what might normally be expected from grass–both Khan and my lawn enacted devastating and surprising schemes, and both Khan and my lawn were played by Ricardo Montalban. (That last is a whimsical exaggeration, as opposed to an insensitive reference to Mr. Montalban’s death in 2009.)
Just like Captain Kirk in the movie though, my wife and I let our guard down. We had good cause. First an unexpected rescue had saved us from the torment of flora, and then a stifling drought turned our lawn into miniature hay. All that we needed were a miniature barn to put it in and some tiny farm animals to eat it. (They could eat the hay instead of our garden, which had grown unexpectedly well, especially considering its caretakers.)
We’d all but forgotten the travails of our spring, which, as any student of literature ought to know, is the cue for the dramatic re-emergence of the antagonist. Our lawn did not disappoint. However, I’m getting ahead of the story a little bit.
Not long ago we decided to buy a shed. Our house doesn’t have a garage, but we needed a place to store all of our sundry yard care paraphernalia. We had originally just kept it all in our kitchen, which was as functional and classy as you can probably imagine. Nothing welcomes guests like hedge trimmers and sweaty gloves next to the food preparation area, except perhaps for a lawnmower under the dining table. (In our defense that only happened twice.)
When our daughter started walking though, and immediately thereafter when she started climbing over every obstacle and barrier we could fashion, we realized that we needed a better arrangement. (Our hopes of a controllable daughter having been soundly dashed by that point.) Our ax in particular seemed threatening. I wasn’t so much worried about her injuring herself; I was worried about her chopping through a door like Jack Nicholson in the Shining. It’s amazing how many toddler babbles sound like “redrum.”
Either way, we eventually exhausted our convenient hiding spots–by which I mean that our daughter outsmarted us easily every time we tried to hide anything–so we bought a shed in which to store all of our dangerous possessions.
It seemed like the perfect plan. We built the shed, put our belongings in it, and settled in for a peaceful evening of not worrying about either the shed or our belongings. We apparently miscalculated about that last thing. That was when the lawn struck. The entire drought had been some sort of rope-a-dope, or one of those chess gambits in which one player seems to be losing but then stabs the winner in the face with a fork.
A vicious storm moved through the region. We didn’t receive any rain to speak of, but wind gusted up to 80 mph (130 kph), which feels like losing a pillow fight to the Incredible Hulk: it has all the force of getting hit by a truck, but without the compound fractures. I thought the shed would be safe because we had tucked it against the wall in the lee of our house, but then I heard the thump.
When I peeked my head outside, this view surprised me:
It was even more surprising when, through the gloom of the night and fog of flying debris, I saw the shed on top of my car, perched like a plastic elephant on a mouse. (My car is small; I would have been less surprised if it had blown away.)
We had an eventful couple of minutes then, piecing together what had happened and salvaging what we could. From the looks of it, the wind had sheered the doors off of the shed, found purchase inside, and sent it tumbling. The force was enough to crush the metal clip I’d used in lieu of a lock, and it wasn’t something as insignificant as a paperclip even; it was one of those clips that mountain climbers use. Also, the doors came to rest under my car; I honestly can’t figure how.
Nevertheless, once we wrangled the shed back into place and filled it with several large sacks of dirt, it didn’t move again. Granted, it doesn’t look pretty and new anymore, unless Picasso has started designing reality. While drunk and blindfolded. And angry about squares.
The interesting part is this though: in amongst the commotion, our grass had arranged for a threatening message. A short distance from the wreckage of our shed, our lawnmower rested unperturbed. I know I had shut it safely in the shed, but there I found it. Beside it, weighing all of two pounds yet not moving in the slightest, was the empty gas can we use to fill our mower. They were arranged almost peacefully, in contradiction with their circumstances, as though to say, “Bring it on, silly man.”
And really, how am I supposed to respond to a lawn that can recruit wind to do its bidding?