Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Ends Against the Middle

The office I work in is in a building that is part of a business campus, I guess you'd call it. There are six buildings, nearly but neatly grouped in a pattern facing inward, with a courtyard for a car park and lots of lawns all around. All the lawns have low chains not to keep the grass from escaping but to discourage us who work here from walking on it. It's only here to be looked at-I never got the memo, but suspect there is one. I occasionally imagine, for my own amusement, spreading large amounts of glass shards on the parking lot to keep the white lines neat and clean and free from tire tread marks.

Yesterday's weather didn't start off too well-it wasn't rainy but it was overcast and very humid, a condition I've heard forecasters refer to as 'threatening.' But, much like the mailmen of old, whom 'neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail nor gloom of night can keep from their appointed rounds' until privatization (of course), a little unsettled weather doesn't stop the landscaping guys. By the time most of the folks in all of the buildings were wandering into work, the lawn guys were getting their swerve on.

I don't know what lawnmower men do in Connecticut in January-perhaps shovel snow. They may be snowbirds and migrate to points south and get closer to the tar balls in the Gulf of Mexico. But come spring, they swarm ashore across the state on rider tractors and zoom around on these weird looking stand-up-with-one-foot-on-each-side-of-the-engine-and-rotating-blade-self-propelled-machines that scare the bejabbers out of me.

Yesterday there were two sets of guys--one were the Rough Riders, Weed Whackers and Clippings Blowers and they were machete-manicuring every blade of grass that dared stick its head out of the earth. Meanwhile, on the other side of the lawns we never walk on, there were guys with a large, industrial length six-inch wide hosing, snaking from a tanker truck labeled "hydro-seed." I love this stuff-it's like the Hairclub for Men for lawns. I think they should call it Topsoil Toupee and don't understand why someone hasn't copyrighted that name.

It's not just me, right? The stuff looks like lime gelatin mixed with tapioca--not sure it has to, but fear it may want to. All kinds of fixings going on in there, sort of like Mickey D's special sauce on the Big Mac, except the green goop has ground up newspapers, fertilizer, seed and miracle ingredient z-247 (and it's Yossarian who says it and Heller who wrote it. One of them isn't real and the other isn't alive. That's how I tell 'em apart. How can a biography of a writer omit the sequel to his most famous novel? No idea, and yet it does.).

By all accounts the stuff grows like wildfire, or maybe spreads like wildfire, or like drunken cheerleaders after a homecoming football game. I'm not clear on the descriptors but there's always a lot of grass in a big hurry after the hydro seeding fairy has paid a visit. And that means the Briggs and Stratton small engine jockeys have happy hearts and bulging wallets. If they keep at it long enough, they can stick around all year long and stack peat, neatly mowed mind you, on top of one another as fuel for the blast furnaces as our very own Nutmeg State reinvents itself as an industrial dynamo, which will happen right after the next incarnation of Eli Whitney stops drinking that cotton gin.
-bill kenny

No comments: