David Moseley

The grass is always greener under the weeds

2014-01-22 07:39

David Moseley

Two weeks ago I received an e-mail from my wife. In it she excitedly proclaimed, “I bought you the Mini Mow!”

The most telling part of the message was not that a miniature lawnmower had been purchased for our miniscule garden, landscaped over the summer holidays by our exuberant dog into a potential coalmine, but rather the unsubtle use of “you” by my wife.

“I” had not asked for a Mini Mow. “I” had no intention of mowing anything. “I” was unimpressed by the implication in the mail that “I” would be ecstatic with the purchase of anything that required manual labour as a term of use.

She should have known better. She should have known that when a simple task like fetching the TV remote from the kitchen requires a game of rock, paper, scissors, that mowing the lawn was low on my list of priorities. I don’t mind cooking every night, or washing the dishes, or vacuuming, or even doing the laundry. But mowing is just not for me.

It all goes back to a Christmas morning where my dad looked the saddest man in the world after receiving a lawnmower as a gift. I never want to give my wife - anybody for that matter - the impression that gardening equipment is something that will excite me.

So I did what any reasonable man in my position would do. I ignored the mail. When I arrived home later that day the Mini Mow was positioned ominously at the back door, clearly waiting for “someone” to open the box. I ignored the box, stepping over and around it as I went about my business.

That night I used the box as a side table for my drink. The next day I piled dry and folded laundry on top of it, casually treating it as a lifelong fixture of the house.

By now the garden was a hostile mix of exploratory mining courtesy of Rocket, and wild, weedy jungle courtesy “my” gardening apathy. If you didn’t break a leg in one of the holes, the weeds would almost certainly finish you off.

For three tense nights, in what I imagine dinners must be like when Iranian officials visit the White House, there was polite chit-chat, faux obliviousness to the teetering pile of clean washing on top of the Mini Mow box and knowing sideways glances from Robyn while she stabbed at her meals. Three dinner plates died for the cause that week, cracked from Robyn attacking her food with barely suppressed rage.

Eventually more than a plate cracked. My passive resistance broke the enemy. Returning from a morning bike ride on a Saturday I opened the front door to the industrious whine of the Mini Mow.

The box and its polystyrene innards, evidently attacked by feral cats, were scattered throughout the house. Tree trimmings littered the patio, while the pleasing smell of fresh-cut lawn filled the air.

I stepped outside to see a pristine backyard and a sweating wife. “Oh,” I exclaimed cheerily, “when did we get a lawnmower?”

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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