Under Arrest – For Not Watering The Lawn?

It’s hot in Illinois again today. My lawns have not been mowed for a fortnight. This is the time of year I dread. The mercury zooms over the eighty degree mark by nine in the morning and the day is destined to find me pacing up and down, sweating, frustrated, and cursing an environment that keeps me confined to air-conditioning either in the house, or if I have to go outside, in the car.

While others can at least enjoy the relative outdoor cool of early morning or late evening, my British body has an allergic reaction to American mosquitoes that keeps me confined indoors during those hours. DEET, herbal preparations, and other cocktails supposedly noxious to Culex pipiens and its relatives are no barrier to the demand these creatures have for British blood.

My neighbor is out cutting his grass. I watch him from the window, and fume. The lawns around our house are a foot high after all the recent storms, but there’s damn all I can do about it. My physiology won’t tolerate the intense heat and humidity that hardly troubles American natives. Yet, they can’t seem to understand that. Last year, at this time, I got a visit from an old guy across the street wanting to know if I was ill because my grass, so carefully manicured all Spring, was now a hayfield. I tried to tell him about the weather and it’s effects. He looked at me with an expression that plainly said – “English wimp!” And when I tried to explain it was like taking an alpine plant from high in the Colorado Mountains and transplanting it in the Arizona Desert, where it would die very quickly, his eyes glazed and he muttered something about his coffee-pot boiling over, before beating a hasty retreat.

To hell with the lawns, I’m off to Michigan’s Upper Peninsular tomorrow for five days, to cool off in a balmy 70-75 degrees and a fresh breeze off the Great Lakes.

It’s just as well I don’t live in Utah. I’d have been arrested before now for the state of my lawns, and thrown into jail – probably a cell without air-conditioning. That’s what almost happened to seventy year old Betty Perry, from Orem, Utah. A cop tried to arrest her for not watering her lawn, and when she resisted he hit her across the face with his handcuffs.

You don’t believe it, do you? You think I’m making it up.


Filed under:

3 Replies to “Under Arrest – For Not Watering The Lawn?”

  1. I am thinking about doing an entire post on why Americans are plain stupid about grass lawns. Grass does nothing for the environment, in fact it depletes the soil. It’s a stupid throwback to the days when people who were rich had lawns to prove they didn’t need to farm the land. Well, I’m pretty sure we all know this is not a farm. there are so many great ground covers that actually are good for the soil – clover is one and you don’t have to mow it – ever!

  2. Yes lawns are insane. If you do it properly, you should even fertilize it so that it grows faster. And, of course, you need to buy a mower and a little shed to keep it in. The neighbor with the prettiest yard near here has many flowers set in rocks. Very spectacular but I am sure it took a lot of work to establish.

    Sorry the mosquitoes are after you, they do seem to like certain people more – try not to breathe and they might not find you ;).

  3. PM – lawns can look lovely in the right circumstances, but you are right that they deplete the soil. Clover makes a really nice, verdant lawn, as does chamomile, though I’m not sure if it grows well in the US. It can be difficult to establish.

    Flimsy – I have nearly half an acre of lawns, inherited from the previous house owner. I have thought of digging them up and planting potatoes, but that’s even more effort than mowing it. As for the mossies, I tried not breathing, but fortunately was revived before the little blighters sucked me dry.

Comments are closed.