by Topher Paul
It all started about 6 months ago, when Gary moved in. I live in a little subdivision comprised of newer single-family homes, each sitting on a nice half-acre lot. Most of the families are your typical 2.5 kids and a dog, with double incomes. It’s a slice of life that can’t quite be described unless you live here, in beautiful Rolling Meadows. Everything was perfect until Gary, the bachelor, moved in.
I’ll never forget the day his U-Haul pulled into the driveway. I had just finished manicuring the shrubs when a well-built man in his mid-thirties, wearing dri-fit Nike shorts and slip-on Vans, approached me. I mean, first of all, pick a lane, Gary! Are you hitting the gym or cruising down the Venice Beach boardwalk on your long board? The first thing out of his mouth was, “Man, your wife has a set of cans on her to die for!” I looked up towards my bedroom window to see my wife, Lindsay, had finished up her shower and was getting dressed near the window.
Now, normally, I would take this comment, from a complete stranger, as a compliment. But not after I had just meticulously spent hours making every aspect of my landscaping look pristine. So I just nodded (he wasn’t wrong) and asked him normal questions like “which baseball team do you root for?” and “what kind of mulch do you prefer as a base layer?” You know, the usual.
A couple of weeks go by, and I was feeling a little more amicable after the rough start we had. So I invited Gary over for a post-mow Michelob Ultra. We were in the living room, and he kept looking at all the family pictures and commenting on how much Lindsay had changed over the years. “Wow, I mean, she was pretty in your wedding photo, but look at this picture of you guys in St. Barts. An absolute knock-out!” Meanwhile, my 80″ QLED and Bose Acoustimass 5.1 stereo are just sitting there without nary a glance from Gary. I mean, what a dick!
Lindsay told me I was being a little harsh, and she decided to go over there to help patch things up between us. After all, we will probably be neighbors for at least 5 years, and chances are I’m going to need to borrow a spreader (when the wheels give out on mine) or a rubber washer for my multi-spray nozzle. Lindsay…she’s so rational.
Unfortunately, things went downhill quickly. I stopped over to see if Gary had any spare pavers I could use for my patio, and I happened to notice that he had the exact same audio/video set-up as I did. Coincidence? I do not think so, my friend. I was about to condescendingly point out that he only had a 77″ screen when Lindsey came out of the bathroom and suggested we should make Margaritas. I was so hot (literally and figuratively) that I figured, why not? Gary and I could compare inches at a later time.
The final straw occurred just this afternoon. I had to take a business trip on Monday, and would be gone for two days. I had just mowed the lawn on Sunday, and was really anxious about it being left unattended until Wednesday evening. I considered taking a red-eye back so I could settle things early Wednesday morning, but Lindsay suggested I ask Gary to take care of it for me, just this once. She promised she would remind him when he woke up on Wednesday, so begrudgingly I agreed.
This is what my lawn usually looks like after I take care of it:
And this is what it looked like after Gary butchered it:
What the hell is that!? Amiright? Not only did he go against the grain, but he used a 2″ cut to boot. He might as well have put zig-zags in my lawn, or just poured gasoline on it and set it on fire.
Deep breaths in…long exhale out…
I want to thank you for letting me get all this off my chest. I was pretty heated about the whole situation, but talking it through has helped calm me down. Maybe it was an honest mistake, or maybe one of the kids was messing with the blade settings. Maybe after dinner, I’ll go over, crack an Ultra and talk about irrigation systems like two normal fellas. Alright, well I guess I better find Lindsay to see what we’re having for dinner. I bet she’s already over at Gary’s laying the groundwork for our guy’s night. What a lady!