The Yard, Reviewed

I think it was on a page I removed at some point over the years, but I once mentioned how annoying I found San Franciscans who had a pre-programmed political response to even the most innocuous statements, like “it’s nice outside today” or whatever.

If you mentioned the nice weather, these folks would inevitably launch into a tirade about global warming or the rainforest or corporate-controlled weather media. If you said you were hungry and thinking about lunch, you’d hear all about some famine in sub-Saharan Africa. If you said you were feeling particularly good (or bad) that day, you’d get an unsolicited lecture about disease control in Thailand or the pain of suffering farm animals in Bolivia.

I got one of those responses today, following my relatively benign comments the other day about how I don’t like yard work. I was pretty much informed in no uncertain terms that lawns (and presumably Mark and I, by association) are “evil” and that the very act of our having a landscaped patch of land at all was somehow the precursor to a catastrophe of global proportions.

It pretty much made me want to go out and plant a flowerbed full of non-native plants and then spray at least one can of every aerosol pesticide I could find all over them. If nothing else, it made me appreciate the yard (and my hubby’s work in it) just that much more.

The Yard

In my view, one of the biggest down sides to owning a house is having a yard. I like the idea in principle, of course, since it keeps me from having to share walls with my neighbors and allows for shade trees which block out as much sunlight as possible. I even like the idea of having an attractive yard. Left to my own devices, though, I might end up just paving over the whole thing and calling it a day. If I had the money, I might instead consider paying someone else to take care of it for me.

But as for me, I hate doing yardwork. Absolutely despise it. In fact, there are few things in life I hate more than doing yardwork and being “in the great outdoors”. I’d rather clean toilets, or do laundry, or give blood, or even sit through a “Friends” marathon than do yardwork — or anything else that involves being outside in the sunshine, for that matter. Working in the yard neither relaxes me nor gives me a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction. It just makes me sweaty and itchy and cranky.

I didn’t like playing outside in the sun and “fresh air” as a child, and I whined every time the suggestion was made that I should do so. I react pretty much the same way as an adult. It’s no wonder I hate street fairs, as they combine two of the most distasteful things in the world: sunshine and large crowds. I make an excpetion for the State Fair, but I generally don’t even show up there until dusk. Hanging out by a pool or on a sunny beach is like torture to me. Heck, I don’t even like being in cars with sunroofs.

Though no fan of sunshine himself, Mark likes our yard. He’s willing to work out in the sunshine to give us nice flowerbeds and shrubs and trees. He finds it worth the payoff, which is great. As my part of the bargain, I’ve agreed to mow the lawn as needed, since he really hates doing that. I also water his shrubs and flowers every day when he’s gone, which is no problem since it’s better to do that after sunset anyway.

I very often feel guilty leaving him out there working in the yard while I go inside to do something (anything) else. I’m learning to get over my guilt, though. I’m glad there are people who enjoy making yards look nice. I’m just not one of them, alas, and I probably never will be.