Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Feel Bad About My Lawn

I feel bad about my lawn. Truly, I do. If you saw my lawn, you’d feel bad about it, too. You might not say anything, because you’re too nice, but you’d be thinking bad things about my lawn, I just know it. Before water restrictions, my lawn used to be pretty and green, but now it has ugly brown age spots and dead patches. My lawn looks thirsty and depressed all the time. If my lawn could talk, it would say that twice a week just isn’t enough. My lawn has needs, too, you know. It wants what it can’t have – more water. But if I give it more water, I’ll be fined by the DWP. So I must suffer.

Luckily for me, I’m not the only one suffering around here. Far from it. I’m in excellent company. Everyone’s front lawn looks like crap. When I take my dog on his daily walk, I count all the dead lawns, and delight in those that look much worse than mine.

The other day, I told Dusty, “Check that one out,” but he didn’t bother to look. He was too busy nibbling on what little grass he could find. He didn’t care whether it was dead or alive, by the way. In a previous life, I’m pretty sure he was a cow. The lawn I found myself gawking at looked so nasty that I debated whether to slip a friendly little note of encouragement into the mail slot. Something about pride of ownership and not letting property values drop any lower. Historically, my friendly little notes tend to backfire and then someone calls the police and it’s a big mess. For the sake of my family, I refrained.

Before water restrictions, I used to believe it was wrong to enjoy the suffering of others. But now, the fact that my lawn, even in its sorry state, looks better than most in the neighborhood gives me a twisted sense of pleasure. I can’t help it. There’s even a fancy German word for this condition of mine. They call it schadenfreude. I dare you to drop it into conversation, assuming you can pronounce it. The next time you find someone laughing at someone else’s expense, tap that person on the shoulder, and in your haughtiest voice say, “Ahem! Your display of schadenfreude is, quite frankly, appalling.” Then run like hell before they look it up in the dictionary, assuming they can spell it.

Before water restrictions, I was a compassionate soul. I’d weep over squished-up squirrels, fallen birdies and Hallmark commercials. But now? I enjoy tallying up dead lawns in the neighborhood. I need help. I need one more day of watering. One more day, that’s all. Give me one more day and I’ll go back to being that nice SJG my parents used to drop off at temple. I’ll quit hissing at summer lawns. I promise. I’ll stop pointing at my next door neighbor’s grass and cackling. I’ll behave myself. I swear. One more day, people. That should do it. One more day. Just one.

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