Monday, January 18, 2010

Suburban Bliss

So, as I mentioned earlier, I have moved back to the land I grew up: the San Francisco Bay Area. And while I'm looking for a job (a super fun enterprise during this, the worst recession in 70 odd years) I'm living in the burbs.

I haven't lived in the suburbs since college, and even then I lived in a suburb that was, in essentials, not a suburb but an extension of the city. So while I was prepared for the obvious annoying things about suburbs, such as having to drive everywhere, I had forgotten some of the more covert annoying things about suburbs.

For instance, leaf blowers.

Can someone please explain leaf blowers to me? I don't really get their point since they just seem to blow leaves around and make a lot of noise, but every gardener in the burbs uses one. Including my mom's gardener. Ahem.

Front lawns.

I love lawns, really. I understand that grass wastes a lot of precious water, blah, blah, blah, but grass is also so nice to lounge on. Or play on. Except, when was the last time you ever saw someone lounging or playing on their front lawn. That's right. Never. What's the point of wasting all that precious resource on an ornamental front lawn?

Speaking of wasting water, the other day I was going for a jog and I noticed a hose that was turned on and spilling water straight into the gutter. I assumed that there COULDN'T be an Earthly reason why a person would do that on PURPOSE. I mean what possible reason would someone have for that? So naturally I assumed that the hose must have been left on accidentally, and as a good Samaritan, I should inform the owner of the house as such.

So I knocked on the door, and a man came to the door, and I politely informed him that his garden hose was turned on.

"Oh, yes. I'm going to turn that off soon. Thank you for your concern," he said before shutting the door.

I still have no explanation.

It's a weird, weird world out here in the burbs.


Sam said...

Lawns exist for dogs to shit on. The poop serves as decorative lawn art since there are many, many, multitudes of dog owners who DO NOT PICK UP AFTER THEIR DOGS.

And I do not live in a suburb.

Farmer's Daughter said...

People are still using leaf blowers this time of year? It's more about the snow blowers here now.

Each day in the fall, my neighbor blows leaves into our yard from his (our yard is an old hay field, so we have only small trees we planted and not many leaves). Then, every night, the wind blows his leaves back from our yard into his yard. (And sometimes our trash cans or the cover for our grill, too. That's the way the wind blows around here.) It's a crazy cycle, I don't get why he does it every day.

As for our lawn, we seeded it but it's mostly made up of clover and hay creeping in from the surrounding fields. Lots of diversity, and we hardly ever water it because that diversity keeps it mostly green. I'll never get why people pull green weeds out of their lawn so they can grow green grass.

Crunchy Chicken said...

We have a ginundous front lawn, but I've never watered it. Or, really, done anything to it. It is a mix of clover and moss and who knows what else. It looks okay, but it is patchy and a tad lumpy. Oh well.

Stephanie said...

Leaf blowers have never made sense, and I don't understand why they exist.

belinda said...

I have to say I am soooooo glad that leaf blowers haven't really caught on to that extent over here (AUS). Contractors use them certainly but most homes certainly wouldn't have one, then again the whole idea of a spotless yard isn't that big here either.

Kind Regards

Katy said...

The guy sounds a lot like my dad. He probably had no idea the hose was on, but just didn't want to admit it.

Mia @ agoodhuman said...

Oh yes...the joy of the 'burbs. I've lived in the suburbs a couple of times, and the thing I hated the most was that I couldn't walk anywhere. I had to get in the car to get milk, or the paper or go out for coffee. There is so much to be said for walkable communities.

In Australia we were on water restrictions most of the time, so most lawns died in the summer. I never understood why everyone didn't start landscaping differently. I mean, why hold onto the idea of a big green lawn when it's never green anyway?

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Lawns can serve a purpose as long as you plant grass seed that is native to your area. They prevent erosion and do all the wonderful things for the earth that other trees, bushes, and plants do. The key is to not go overboard when watering. The typical lawn only needs a few inches of water a week to live. Or so they tell me. I let Mother Nature water my lawn.

Chia-Yi said...

I live in NYC and I see some leafblowers too. They are for the lazy superintendents who can't use a broom or rake. Sometimes they use water to push leaves off of the sidewalk and that bothers me too.

Andy Swetz said...

Being a suburbanite all my life, I find that people are stuck in the mindset that what they've been doing for years shouldn't change. People seem to cut their lawns solely for curb appeal when the fact of the matter is that people have lost sight of the pleasures they have right under their noses. Some kind of change has to be initiated in neighborhoods to spark an enlightenment. Sure there are activist groups here and there but I think people living comfortably in the suburbs don't have motivation to change their comfortable wasteful ways. It's a sad truth but that's what happens when those that have the power to make a difference are oblivious.