It was a beautiful Saturday morning. Sixty-one degrees, mostly sunny — a beautiful day to go out for a bike ride. Then I looked outside my kitchen into my backyard.
It was a disaster.
What could be seen was a half-assed attempt at fixing lawn sprinklers: a trench dug out of an eighth of the distance, another trench covered back up after realizing it was completely pointless to have dug these out.
Then there was the spray-painted lines of borders for the landscaping, now engulfed by overgrown grass archipelagos throughout the yard, dotted with a weed here and there, and of course dusted with some sort of white, cloudy mildew in the shaded areas.
And then the half-assed garden from the previous owners, which was actually just a piece of yard that had its sod removed, but the lawn sprinklers kept in-place.
All of this work to do, and then I said ‘fuck it’ and took my family for a bike ride to a coffeeshop for some breakfast. While there, the wife and I found ourselves talking about the yard, talking about all the work to be done, and then we realized we didn’t want to be doing it.
Hours later, as I’m begrudgingly mowing my yard, I realize, “Why the hell am I doing this? Why am I so engulfed by this idea of maintaining a yard, creating landscaping, painting a house, fixing sprinklers?” I continued down this spiral of ideas as I was on my hands and knees pulling out weeds lest my neighbor complain about dandelions flowering and ejaculating white seeds into her yard.
The reason for it all: appearance. The battle against entropy, the installation and maintenance of order onto a piece of land, and while mainly for appearance, it’s also because to ignore now is to be consumed by it later as the machete comes out and even harder work has to be performed.
The real thing about it all: it’s bullshit. I don’t really care to be spending my time doing any of this. With what little time we exist on this rock spinning and orbiting and giant fireball, why do I spend my time and the commodity I’ve exchanged for time and skill (money) on things that give me little satisfaction?
Why do I continue to contribute to an economy, to a strange pseudo-agrarian and/or pseudo-agriculture life in which I have to constantly spend money and time on fixing? For autonomy? Freedom? Self-direction? It doesn’t sound like I’m achieving any of those things but instead are chained to them.
It just seems like I’ve bought into this idea of home ownership and suburbia (or old suburbia, in my case) without thinking about all the quirks that come with it. The more you have, the more you have to maintain, the more you have to spend money and time, the more risk you have something to go wrong.
The costs are high with home ownership.