In at least one of her posts, Daughter has likened our garage to something out of Hoarders. To a great degree, she is accurate, but I take some solace when wandering the neighborhood and realizing many of us here carry the Hoarders gene. It’s the hantavirus of our struggling suburban enclave.
It is not without just a twinge of envy, however, when I spy a clean, well-lighted garage space where it’s clearly within the realm of possibility that an automobile will, in fact, fit neatly, without the necessity of wedging boxes, bags of clothes, and yard implements out of the way.
Creating such place is certainly a goal to which I aspire, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon, for a bunch of reasons, most of them either lame or bad or both.
In the meantime our tiny Southern California postage stamp of a yard offers a blank canvas for striving for the kind of perfection we cannot even fathom within our own garage.
In other words, the grass looks pretty good after I mow it, providing instant gratification with the added illusion that I’m actually accomplishing something.
Of course I’m not, and all anyone has to do to confirm said conclusion is to look a few inches beyond the blades of grass. Therein lies the subterfuge that thwarts my best intention: Weeds. Any not just any weeds — Black Medic Clover.
Sounds like something Professor Snipe might conjure up to mess with us here Muggles.
This clover is insidious, omnipresent, and green. That is to say it’s perfectly camouflaged within the lawn until one day I look up and realize I am not mowing grass any longer, but pure clover.
Mass hysteria. Dogs and cats sleeping together.
Next thing you know there will be termites.
Oh, wait a minute. That already happened.
So today I figured since I can’t do anything about the damn garage, I could busy myself making a dent with the yard weeds. I summoned Zen-Me for company, as well as a garbage can and a weeding trowel.
You see, I have come to discover that working in the yard essentially is a form of therapy for me. I don’t think about work, or money, or project cars — I just focus on finding that tap root and yanking the weed intact out of the soil. It’s a simple, focused process, and as long as my back doesn’t start to hurt or the sun become too hot, I can do it for hours.
Well, maybe not hours, but fairly long stretches anyway — let’s say twenty-five minutes at a time or so.
Based on my experience as an amateur weeder, I can confidently say I would not be capable of supporting myself, not to mention an entire family, as a migrant farm worker. My hat is off to those guys because that kind of work has to be about 100 times harder than weeding my yard.
So, I weed, and ponder, and take a break to get a drink, and sit down and flex my back, and eventually wander back over to begin to weed again, trying to imagine that I will actually eradicate the clover once and for all some day.
And I get in a rhythm, but my mind starts to wander out of that Zen-Me zone.
I think about dying and the final reckoning that may occur. One idea that pops into my head over and over again is that when your days are done, you will be the beneficiary of an Angel Debrief during which you are told of all the near-misses in your life and the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” decisions that would have been extremely destination altering.
In my case, I expect to receive word about several key incidents. You know, that weekend in November of 1994 when I forgot to buy a lottery ticket. You guessed it. The one with my name on it that I didn’t purchase was a winner. Or the multitude of times I was nearly in traffic accidents but was saved by some circumstance of stupid luck, and I never even knew. Or that Publisher’s Clearing House entry I threw away — yep, winner.
And on and on and on and on. Most of these fantasies include waylaid visions of extraordinary material wealth — missed. Which is why it’s a good thing I’ve learned not to worry about it so much anymore — I’m talking about material wealth. Because these days, compared to many in this world, my family is doing pretty darn well. Maybe not financially, but certainly in terms of being (relatively healthy), not whacked out politically or philosophically, and grateful for what we have on most days.
But still, I’ve got some issues. The biggest continuing dilemma right now is the damn clover. I fear I am destined to battle this invasion as long as I live in this house with this yard. Clover is, after all, a formidable opponent, and one which I am unlikely to defeat via conventional, non-herbicidal methods.
However, I will continue the struggle and, who knows, one day I might prevail. And during my one-on-one with St. Peter (or someone like him), he may chastise me about the multiple opportunities I missed during this life, but will then gently smile and acknowledge with a knowing glance that I fought the good fight against the clover. It is only then I will notice he has a bit of dirt under his fingernails, so I figure he either liked to work in the yard himself or changed his own oil when mortal. It is only then that my vision of hell and missed jackpots will be transformed into being “high-fived” by a Million Angels, because of my determination and dedication to a higher calling — pulling weeds.
In the meantime, just to be safe, I will continue to play the lottery.