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by anna at 06:21 PM on April 20, 2005

I think it sucks that Mr. B now owns things like lawn mowers and washer-dryers. These are suburban things. Mr. B, I think, is a 20-something artist. He should be eking out a meager existence in some starving artist loft or like some communal farmhouse in Kentucky or something.

We often think that the suburbs have always been the huge, sprawling blight they are today. But prior to WWII, most folks either lived in cities that were rigidly segregated by ethnic neighborhoods or tightly knit agricultural areas. Soldiers of the so-called Greatest Generation came home from war, hooked up with wives and set about creating the Baby Boomer generation. We in turn begat you guys of Gen X and Y.

This sea change took place in the suburbs. The land of immaculately manicured lawns, edgers, leaf blowers and a rabid hatred of dandelions. The land where your choices are conformity or ostracization or even vandalism or malicious gossip.

When I bought my 1st single family home, a neighbor sauntered up to me and observed that I had a rampant dandelion "problem." Now the only thought I'd ever given to dandelions was as a kid we used to blow that fuzzy stuff on the dead ones in each other's faces. I'm like, those are flowers. He says no they are weeds that could spread to other lawns. He wants to know what I plan to do about it. He recommends some Scott product and says I can borrow his "spreader." His message came through loud and clear.

I'm thinking about this now because I currently have a lawn problem. To wit: I don't have one. At least I don't have a backyard. I have backdirt. Now I couldn't care less about how my lawn looks. But my wife walks dogs back there and if it's wet, they track muddy paw prints all over my pristine beige carpet, which I spend hours steam cleaning every week.

So I bought a bunch of grass seed. There's a perplexing array of types: high sun, low sun, sun/shade, shade and something called creeping fescue. There's green and blue grass. There's blends. There's no way to know which is right for you. Nor is there any way to know how much is enough. It says a bag covers so many thousand square feet, but how many square feet are in a yard? I mean, a backyard. Then there's all this different fertilizer with like "guaranteed nitrogen ratio." As if some unscrupulous fertilizer maker might short you on nitrogen. So I bought then all along with something called "humus/manure: organic mixture."

All this stuff is now all over my backdirt, covered in straw. The bag says it takes 7-12 days for it to "germinate," whatever that means. It's been there 12 days. Sprinklers have been running every day. When II get home I rush back there like a kid expecting a package. Has a single blade popped up? Of course not.

But the weeds love the newly tilled, hyper-fertilized, humus/manure-laden soil. They are crowding in. And now there's no muddy paw prints, in part due to my new weed-lawn but more I think because of all the straw I laid down.

I win again.

comments (8)

I'm not fond of starving. That's why I did the 'graphic designer' thing. It pays a little more than starving artist —just a little.

The college town I live in is too small to have a suburb, so I'm just another 'townie.' I think if I did live in the big city, I'd have a loft, or something. For now, I'm in the duplex area of my sort-of skanky, redneck neighborhood. Things are quiet and I never have to deal with noisy neighbors, like in past apartments. It's not very expensive and I have a garage that I can put my car in (unlike my neighbors who fill theirs up with tons of shit so they have to park on the street).

Don't feel bad about me getting suburb-type stuff. Having a washer and dryer is great, and I don't have to worry about what someone before me put in it. I hate going to the laundromat. I seem to smell a lot better since I'm able to wash my cloths any time I need to.

Still, these are just more things that cement me where I am. The longer I dwell, the harder it will be fore me to move on.

by MrBlank at April 21, 2005 11:58 AM

The laudromat has got to be the most depressing place in the world. Everyone there is tied by their common lack of normal household appliances. They are poor. You can smell the desperation amid the fabric softener, lint and detergent.

by anna at April 21, 2005 6:11 PM

Depressing places... and situations... often better than anger and panic...

...Not that any Burger King is extravagant and vibrant, but there's this burger king on amsterdam and about 69th and it's very depressing because it seems to have been built what was formerly a hospital waiting room, with sterile white lights and floors and two cash registers.

by Lockheed at April 21, 2005 6:25 PM

You have a point Lockheed, sometimes businesses seem like they've been decorated even worse than they have to be. Especially when they have really harsh flourescent lights. I was just at a computer store yesterday with gray cubicles, white walls, and dim (yet harsh) flourescent lights. It was completely grim... I don't know how the employees can stand to work there.

Most laundromats in my area aren't too inviting. But one of them got it right by being next to both a Domino's and a donut shop, and putting up two nice, big TVs with good reception. If only the TVs had cable, it would be the best laundromat in the world :P

That, and free Wi-fi connections to the Internet.

by jean at April 22, 2005 1:08 AM

A rich guy I know used to go to the laundromat to pick up what he called "ghetto babes." He figured they were a captive audience.

by anna at April 22, 2005 7:48 AM

Wow...and to think that if the one person of significance were to be inlitened enough to notise the cable tv in a laudry then it might just happen...but for that to mater to me I would first have to accuior the need to go to a laundromat.
but I would perfer to live on the beach of some desrted island more then live under a condition that sends me to the laundry!

by Rich at April 22, 2005 4:57 PM

When I was a kid we'd go to the laundromat, pop a quarter in the dryer and climb inside.

by anna at April 22, 2005 6:10 PM

Ah, leave it to Anna to write a milk-shooting-out-the-nose type of comment that´s from his real life. To have lived in your shoes as a kid, Anna.....

Being on the road here, I go back and forth between handing over my entire bag of dirty clothes to a stranger to wash, dry, fold, and hand back to me the next day and putting in some good elbow grease washing my clothes on a washboard with a bar of soap. I try to switch off -- then I feel really spoiled when I pick up my clothes from the lavanderia post-washing.

The one good thing about traditional laudromats is that you can do 5 loads of laudry simultaneously.

by leaffin at April 22, 2005 7:32 PM

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