It's not about the house.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quite Contrary

Okay, I’m back. Sorry. I got a bit distracted for a while because Thursday was Hidden Gardens Day on Beacon Hill. I work on Beacon Hill, for those of you who didn’t know, and Hidden Gardens Day is a yearly tradition in which people who don’t have gardens open their twelve-square-foot terraces of ivied brick and potted plants to the public to show off the expert watering they pay illegal immigrants to do.

Well, not open to the public as it were. To paying ticketholders. And the profits go to – hang on a second, let me look this up. Because I don’t have any idea what the profits go to, and I wouldn’t want to be unnecessarily snarky and make up something obnoxious, only to find out it's a purely altruistic and civic-minded affair...  

Got it: they are “committed to the beautification of Beacon Hill” (“and areas of immediate proximity”). They dress it up in a lot of talk about conservation and flying Garden Club members down to Washington (and thank god, because these people would otherwise probably have to use their private planes, and that would just defeat the whole purpose of all their conservation talk), but that's the gist. Phew. I’m sure glad I caught myself before getting all snarky.

Anyway, so on that one day every spring (and they don't see any need to post a notice letting the neighborhood know ahead of time exactly what day that might be), the area is overrun. Every wanna-be society lady from Weston (and areas of immediate proximity) comes down with her tennis sweater (over her shoulders, naturally) and her new straw hat, and spends the day pretending to all her wanna-be friends that she knows her way around. They stand on street corners looking at maps, pointing in random directions and saying names of streets that lie somewhere else entirely, then agree that the whole thing was just lovely and spend the rest of the afternoon stopping abruptly on the sidewalk to peer in the windows of every twee café, deciding which one they ought to pay eleven dollars for a mini-quiche in. It’s the one day of the year I allow myself to fart openly in public, and if I could only remember to find out ahead of time what day it was, I’d spend the week before it eating nothing but canned baked beans and brussel sprouts. Alas, again this year, I didn’t know. So instead I spent the weekend trying to tuck my poor prolapsed colon back in where it belongs. 

Speaking of gardens, though, and speaking of snarky (but not, thankfully, speaking of colons): I do appreciate all of your wishes and sympathies and advice about the lawn mower saga that I wrote last Tuesday, but if you'd all done better on the reading-comprehension portions of your SATs, you would have retained all the way to the (very) bitter end the information I gave in the first sentence. Namely, ahem: “the lawn mower’s finally fixed.” 

Seriously. I said it. Go back and check. I’ll wait...

See? I told you. What happened was this: 

Before we knew that it would turn into a fruitless wild goose chase at the Sears store, Johnny told George we were on our way to get the part, and George said he’d be over the next afternoon to put it in. When our snipe hunt turned up snake eyes, I told Johnny to ring George and call him off, but George said that if worse came to worse he would fix the old push mower for us (which is still in the basement even though it’s been broken for three years) – and since we desperately had to cut that damn grass somehow, Johnny decided to just let him come. 

I sort of somehow managed to forget all of this when I went to work on Tuesday. And when I came home there was Johnny, in Alice’s yard, mowing Alice’s lawn with Alice’s mower, while our grass was still knee-high to Manute Bol. As shocking as it may seem, however, this did not annoy me. I didn’t even raise my voice to ask him what was going on. I just brought him a beer, because I knew. 

See, the week before, on the day George and Johnny spent replacing parts and failing to crank up our Crapsman tool, Alice had been in her yard with her son doing the same. So when George showed up that afternoon, instead of bringing the push mower from the basement, Johnny rang Alice’s bell and said “If we get your mower going, can I use it?” She agreed and -- naturally, because it's George we're talking about here -- they got it going in about an hour. 

Johnny did her yard first (because that's the kind of guy he is), and it was dark when he was finished, so he rang her bell again and said that he'd call for the mower in the morning. She tried to pay him, but he told her to shove her money up her arse. The next day, he mowed our lawn, and we pretty much assumed that would be the plan for the summer (or until the economy turns around and he has work again). But a few days later, without us knowing he was going to, George came over with a new carburetor for our Crapsman that he’d built for us from scratch. Well, not from scratch, probably. I mean, I don’t think he mined the ore and forged the steel or anything. But you know, from spare carburetor-looking pieces that he found lying around. 

We seriously have the best friends ever, don't you think? Plus, if you put your thumbs up to strategically block the sight of certain houses, we’ve got some awfully darn good neighbors round here, too. And now, thanks to all of us (except for, notably, me), our gardens are looking fine. Maybe not as finely-planned and manicured as what they’re charging $35 a pop to peek at on Beacon Hill, but I think ours are nicer – in their untamed, wild way – and I’ll stand on Mrs. Weston’s straw hat in my shit-kickers and say so, anytime.  

Just let me give old George and Alice time to get upwind.


12ontheinside said...

Well I knew the mower was fixed. I only offered you my spare because it seemed like a perfectly good way to justify a trip down under.
Hope your prolapsed colon is doing better. Please keep your pants on till it is.

Hubert said...

Beacon Hill? Nothing a few faggots and some sparks would not make useful. It could attract people from miles around by the simple expedient of bursting into flame upon the occasion of the open gardening festives. This being the traditional manner of raising the Hue and Crie at times of National Importance, I should think they might be proud to recreate authentic historical events.

Curiously, when you said he was cutting the grass next door and you simply got him a beer, I was confused as to why that was not the first course of action. Then I remembered the point of Beacon Hills.

Brewing. Fresh and yeasty beer the night before a visit to the upper clarses usually works. Failing that, a loud, enthusiastic enquiry around prolapses might suffice.

beardonaut said...

Good friends is the best thing ever.

And of course he mined the ore. With his bare hands. And then cold-forged it. With his bare hands. Or teeth. That's what friends do.

ege said...

12 -- Maybe George can figure out a way to fly me down!

Hubert -- Everyone, meet Hubert. Not his real name. He is a member of Johnny's honest-to-god, actual family, and he lives in England. So when he says "faggot," you don't have to bleep him or get him kicked off Grey's Anatomy. He's just talking about a bunch of sticks. Hi Hubert! I'll remember that about the yeasty beer!

Beardo -- Yeah, you're probably right. He was married to a German for a few years, after all. (No, I don't know what that means, but since I seem to be making with the ethnic jokes these days, I figured I might as well carry on.)

Jenni said...

Hi Hubert.

Sparkle Plenty said...

Hola, Huberto!

Ege, your Hidden Garden Day expose made me cackle like a chicken on the roost. Laugh like a hyena. Chortle like a...I have no idea what chortles. Chortle like that thing that chortles. Thank you for the hot, fresh humor. (Glad the lawn mower is jake; my reading comprehension often sucketh.)