The way your yard and the street in front of your house looks tells me things about you.
Walking is nice. It offers exercise, creates hunger, makes me look forward to another cup of hot, fresh java. It allows me to notice things and people around me I might never consider were I driving. It’s during my walks I often receive writing ideas.
Near our home, there’s an entire section of public sidewalk, where Bedell turns onto South Breckenridge, that hasn’t seen a trimmer in years. It only grudgingly sees a mower. Grass and weeds have been allowed to grow up between the cracks, along the curb, and along adjoining property owners’ privacy fences.
Mowing takes no time at all if you don’t trim or clean up after yourself. Just stay on that chugging throne and mow on, brother.
There’s nothing attractive or welcoming about it.
When mowed, it seems obvious the minimum of effort is exerted. Technically, whoever is contracted to keep it mowed is following the law’s letter. It’s equally obvious their heart isn’t in their work. “Nothing to be proud of here. Grass is mowed. Send me my check; I’m outta here.”
That’s the Mow ‘n’ Go mentality.
I could go on, but you get it. You’ve walked past such careless care.
Several lessons accrue.
- If all you do is mow without trimming, edging and cleaning up your mess, all you’ve done is create more work for someone else. It can’t go on indefinitely. Somebody will need to do a lot of extra work with straight hoes and heavy edgers and trimmers to make that section of Breckenridge look like a sidewalk again. They’ll also need to clean up all the extra mown grass you’ve left laying where it fell, as well as the trimmings.
- Making a lawn or property look clean isn’t the same as assuring it is. If all you’re doing is keeping the deck high enough to mow without hitting too much lying in that weedy grass, it will seem tidy. We both know, however, that many things can be hidden in the grass, mowed over and never touched.
- Lax habits indicate lax thinking. Your haphazard work guarantees I’ll never hire you. If you’re lazy about the way you work, it’s a safe bet you’re also lazy in other areas of your professional and personal life.
Walking, I notice all the assorted junk in yards, along medians and along the curbs. I always wonder about those who live there. I’m not impressed by people who, for whatever reason, just can’t find it in their hearts to pick up their yards, police their driveways and clean up along the curb fronting their property.
Yesterday as I walked home from Harrison Park, which is beautifully maintained, I was mulling over these thoughts as I watched a young woman exit her home across the street, get in her car, back out, and accelerate off to somewhere–but not before downing her window just enough to toss a white wrapper of some kind out, leaving it to blow around in the street.
Exactly. “Mow ‘n’ Go” thinking. Somebody’s going to have to pick that up. Couldn’t she have tossed that in the garbage can before leaving the house? How about tossing it in the nearest can after getting where she’s going?
I wasn’t raised that way. I didn’t raise my kids that way. I’d hope all three still furtively look around to see if I’m nearby, watching, before they toss a gum or candy wrapper on the ground. Kidding. I’d hope none ever do that. Ever.
I can’t – don’t – clean up others’ yards, or pick up along the curb in front of their houses. I do work to keep my own space looking well-tended and decent. I believe the appearance of where I live says as much about my philosophy about life, about who I am and what are my values as anything I might say.
“I’m not responsible for keeping the street clean!” Neither am I. I do it, anyway, along my own yard because I live here. This is MY neighborhood. I take pride in my own health, my own appearance–and my home and yard.
I’m no fan of “mow ‘n’ go”. If you’re not the type to give two hoots about how your surroundings look, do those who live around you a favor and hire somebody else who does.
Picking up after yourself is a matter of training. If you were never trained thus, it’s an amazingly simple habit to learn.
© D. Dean Boone, August 2017