Monday, June 18, 2007

The Lawn and Shortening of it

Here in suburbia the sure way to watch the arrival of a new generation is to see grass turn into rocks. I don't mean marijuana replaced with crack, which may be the way things change in some urban nabes. No, I mean literal grass torn out, along with wasteful sprinkler systems, to be replaced with small geological objects, tree bark and plants bred to survive nuclear summer.

Jesus, why wasn't this a sign of hipness when I was a kid and my dad made me decapitate a half acre of grass every weekend with a push mower? That's how old I am, push mowers. Now, as I look up and down my new street, I see that slightly more than half the front yards are quarried rather than cultivated. The yuppies, water conservationists and rock-huggers are here, and the Greatest Grassgrowing Generation is dying off.

I'm still stuck with a small, kidney-shaped plot of grass in the backyard. The previous owner assures me the token grass isn't a filled-in swimming pool, although with the current heat wave I've been putting enough water on it to fill a pool. Then, every few days, I go out with a weed-whacker and cut it. It's not big enough to need a mower. It's mostly edge. The process is maddening, so as fast as I can I'm digging up patches of the mini-lawn and planting tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula.

Yes, arugula. It survived ridicule and the '90s, and it might survive my gardening.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I would take her to a dog show

Today I took my wife to a dog show. And she won best in show. Rather, her dog (our dog), Bean Sprout, was easily the most popular dog at the Marin Humane Society centennial party. A hundred years they've been there, and Bean Sprout (please do not call him or this braggadoggio B.S.) was probably the cutest dog ever seen there.

So here's the thing. Bean Sprout never actually entered any contest, even though dozens (well, three) of the humane society's officers and members begged him to sign up. That is, they begged my wife to sign him up for the small dog contest. He will not run if nominated, and he will not serve if elected, she responded. I begged her to sign him up too, but I must admit my motives were impure.

I had looked around at the competition and knew Bean Sprout count kick all their fuzzy little butts. It was as if a 5-pound, 4-legged, white-maned Lincoln had walked into a 2007 Democratic debate. Hillary who? Obama what? Bean Sprout for prez of the world of dogs.

The truth is, and I knew it, the poor little guy was tired. He might have laid down and curled up embarrassingly in front of the judges (well, judge, and one with an annoying and amplifed voice). He had spent an hour being petted by entranced little children and being chased and licked by bigger dogs who probably wanted to see if he tasted like a dog or a chew toy.

It ain't easy being cute. Ask my dog. Ask me. I got nothing to write about, and I'll be in the dog house for that headline.