There’s a guy on our street who does lawn care; he used to do ours. Joey is meticulous and takes pride in his work, which is basically why we fired him ten years ago—we felt he was too expensive, and asked him just to run the lawn mower over our grass and not worry about any of the trimming, blowing, or sweeping; he refused on grounds that he has standards.
I lose track of the days sometimes: homeschooling (and travel) means that we have very few externally-imposed routines of weekdays and weekends (aside from Shabbat.) Still, there’s one event from the outside world that anchors the week for me. It also aggravates the heck out of me, coming as it does around dinnertime every Sunday. I’ll be sitting peacefully in the hammock when I hear an engine rev and smell gasoline fumes. “Oh,” I’ll say, looking up, “is it Joey o’clock already?”
Joey o’clock stinks—I don’t mean that metaphorically. His lawnmower, trimmer, and blower are all gas-powered; they produce smelly fumes and about 85 decibels of noise. And given that Sunday afternoons and evenings are prime sitting-in-the-backyard and having-a-barbecue time, I have plenty of reasons to hate it.
Sadly, gas-powered mower bans and no-mow lawns haven’t yet caught on in this corner of the city; a pristine, weedless, clipping-free yard is still de rigeur, so there’s nothing I can do about Joey o-clock… for now. Like the chapel bells at the Lutheran seminary that woke me up every morning in fourth year university, it’s just another (annoying) reminder of the passage of time.