This morning I pull up in front of my place after going to the grocery store and there’s this old white lady pulling weeds on the front yard of where I live. She wasn’t on the grass section right in front of the house but where the sidewalk is. I thought it was kind of strange but not really. Although I didn’t completely recognize her, I was pretty sure she lived 3 houses beside me cause there is only 1 old white lady on this whole block. She saw me, I said hi and she was telling me about how pulling the weeds or the seeds now would stop them from growing for 2 years or something like that. I was like “oh, ok” and went inside. I didn’t know what to say. Am I suppose to say “thank you”? Or “get the hell off my lawn”?
3 minutes later I come back out to head to the gym and the conversation is as follows.
Old Lady: Do you live in the basement here?
Old Lady: You know, people who own houses have a responsibility to keep their property looking nice.
Me: I guess that would be ideal.
Old Lady: No, not ideal. That’s the way it should be. You can’t have a neighbourhood looking lousy. I pull weeds on this whole block.
Me: It probably would be the best thing but I guess it’s up to the owner of the property.
Old Lady: Well you’re young, why don’t you take some initiative and get a lawn mower and cut the grass and weeds.
Me: Honestly, you shouldn’t be going to people’s property and doing as you please. If you’re going to do this you should be talking to them about it first and you can’t go around telling people what to do.
Old Lady: Well, it blows onto my yard.
I don’t really know much about this weed stuff so maybe it does blow onto her yard from 3 houses away but it could also be horse shit cause she just wanted the last word. I think she has this 1950’s mentallity of middle class suburbia where Herb comes home in his overalls holding his lunch kit and says hi to Frank who’s mowing his lawn while Gertrude is baking pies with her apron on and knee length dress. All the houses have neatly cut lawns with no oil on the driveway. Bob knows Bill across the street and Sue knows all the neighbourhood kids. I may be speaking out of line cause this is just the imagery I get from what TV has taught me.
Maybe people like weeds on their lawn and she just ruined months of anticipation. I have this feeling she went home and told her husband about our ordeal. Well, she must have. I’m sure she’s directing racial comments to me in her head. This block is like 80% maybe 90% Chinese and no one has a pristine yard like her. Her hedges are all even and trimmed. She’s got flowers blooming everywhere. Her and her husband are also retired and don’t have shit to do.
When the old lady pulled out that “you’re young” comment it’s like one of those things where it’s not fair. I’m sure there’s a word for it but my ghetto vocabulary is not very sophisticated. It’s like when a fat person can make fun of a skinny person but not the other way around. Or when a non-white person can make fun of a white person. Or when a poor person can talk shit to a rich person. I should have said, “you’re old, you should have learnt some manners by now.” Or “you’re old, maybe you should take some initiative and die.”
Obviously she feels strongly about the subject of keeping your yard well kept. It’s a decent thing to do for the neighbourhood I guess. Some people just don’t care as much though and it doesn’t make them a bad person. It’s not like the grass is 3 feet tall with dead bodies all over the place. There’s this thing about a lot of neighbourhoods where people are obsessed with keeping the area looking like the movie Pleasantville and if your lot doesn’t look up to snuff then they hate on you like you’re the enemy. Now I have to deal with this old lady’s probable stink eye everytime I see her.