My very nice landlady is gone for a month to New York to help out her divorced son with his two kids. She's been gone about three weeks now. She lives in a fairly nice neighborhood and rents out her walk-out basement as an apartment. That's where I live.
She--the landlady--is a very generous creature. Before she left she had a 22-year-old boy move in to her house upstairs who is a friend of a friend's son. He needed a place to stay for a semester to save money. After she left, her cousin's daughter called her in crisis. This cousin's daughter and a friend moved here to go to school without a solid housing situation and the apartment they finally found wouldn't be ready for a month so they needed a place to crash in the meantime. Ms. Landlady told them they could stay at her house--while she's gone, no less--for the entire month. So, now she has three twentysomethings roaming her house, eating her food, using her water, electricity, cable and Internet for no charge. Sounds like the life, doesn't it?
The only requirement she asked of the 22-year-old boy before she left was to take the garbage cans to the curb each week and mow the lawn. He's doing a fantastic job with the garbage. It is out there every Thursday night, twelve hours before it needs to be. And the garbage cans are right back in their appropriate place every Friday night.
The lawn is another matter entirely. It grew a pretty respectable shag for the first two weeks. Then it started to get embarrassingly long. To the point that I started to wonder if we were going to collect old, broken-down cars across the front of the house and put a nasty, nubby old couch on the front porch just to make the lawn feel more comfortable.
Then suddenly one morning this week, I heard the lawn mower roar to life. And a knot that had been building in my stomach dissipated. Aaaaaaahhhhhh! Finally, Mr. Twenty-Two had realized the errors of his ways and was going to return the house to a respectable short-lawn existence. When I left for work, I saw that he had been meticulous about the front lawn by mowing carefully around corners and trees and even going so far as to mow in a diagonal pattern. Super fancy, in my opinion. I also noticed that the lawn mower was no longer roaring and the back and side lawns were still sporting rather unappealing lengths. I figured he had gone inside for a lemonade break and would be back at it with a gusto soon.
Well, now four days later, I'm not entirely sure what happened to his gusto. The side and back lawns (both out of view from the front of the house) have only grown more lush and wild in the ensuing days. As, I traverse the stairs down to my place each day, I'm surrounded by knee-high grass that makes me feel as if, with just a gun and fetching hat, I could really be on safari. The scary thing though is what unseeable wildlife really is hiding in our overgrown suburban landscape.
Truly I began to wonder what he was thinking. Until this morning that is, when I realized that Mr. Twenty-Two wasn't lazy, ineffecient, too busy, or lacking in a responsibility gene. He was making a fashion statement.
For what our lawn is now sporting is a mullet. We are business in the front, and party in the back.
Now, I've really got to go find a nubby old couch for the front porch.