You bag up your leaves and throw them out …. Say what?

imagesCAMMVP2V

A couple of days ago, I spent about three hours working on the various yards around our house. Instead of a backyard and a front yard, like everybody else, we have a front yard and two side yards. One of the side yards is similar to a classic backyard – fenced and containing a play structure. The other is divided into two areas, one a sunny terrace of interlocking brick and one a sunken cloister, surrounded by trees. So, really, we have three side yards, I guess? Anyway. Our various yards are not really the point of this post, they’re the birthplace. One of my summer pleasures is taming these yards, since they’re a profusion of both domestic perennials and wildflowers, and you just never know what colours and shapes you’re going to encounter on any given day. I was thinking about the changes each season brings to the yards. When I thought about the fall, I pictured the ankle-deep carpet of leaves I love to shuffle through – and was reminded of things-people-do-that-I-don’t-get. Within minutes, I had come up with a sizable list. The first item, the one that started this chain of thought, is ….

Bagging leaves. First when leaves fall from the trees, they make a colourful covering for the ground, which is rapidly turning to a slurry of browns and greys. As they dry out, they make a lovely crunching sound when you step on them. Through the winter, they provide warmth and shelter for plants and small animals. In the spring, they decay and turn into nutrients for new plants. They’re basically free mulch. Unless you spend hours raking them up and putting them in bags, and leave them at the curb on garbage day. Which alot of people do. Even better: some people bag and dispose of their leaves, and then head for the nearest gardening center to buy mulch. Yeah.

Lawns. Yes, grass is pretty. But so are periwinkles, buttercups, dandelions, lambsquarters, chickweeds and clovers. But because people have been conditioned to see these other plants as undesirable, as weeds, they don’t recognise their beauty or even the environmental value of variety. So they spend alot of money, water, time and sweat on encouraging an expanse of monoculture that does nothing for nature, or the health of people and pets. Sometimes they even subtly bully their neighbours into doing the same. Or they don’t bother with subtlety, and they call the city to rat on the non-conformists. Nope, I don’t get lawns – or their crusaders.

Washing yard gear. Sure, if you like to eat meals outside, wipe the table with a soapy cloth. If a bird poops on your chair, wipe that, too. But attacking your entire deck or terrace with a pressure washer …. Why? Ok, hose it down at the end of the winter to get rid of an entire year’s worth of debris – but then stop wasting water. Unless you live in Death Valley, it’s probably going to rain sooner or later.

Minivans. If you have three or more children, ok, buy a minivan. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. But what is with these couples who start shopping for a minivan as soon as the woman feels her first twinge of morning sickness over their first child? A baby is a very small human being, and does not need a living-room-on-wheels for her transportation. Ryan and I and our two daughters drive more than anyone we know, comfortably, and we’ve never driven anything bigger than a sedan. We save money on gas, we go easy on the environment, and we can take advantage of tight parking spaces. Don’t be suckered into giving up your car just because one of the three back seats is gaining an occupant.

Baby-on-Board signs. Oh, I’m so glad you put that little yellow diamond in your rear window – I was going to ram into you, then screech around you and hurl trash from my open window into yours. Now that I know there’s a baby in your car, though, I’m going to keep a safe distance and watch out for that precious little bundle of joy you’re packing. Know what? Everybody matters; babies don’t belong to an elite group worthy of enhanced protection. Even if you’re the only person in your car, I’m still going to be careful, because I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

Classes for babies. What’s the point? You’re dealing with a person who, over the next couple of years, is going to learn to recognise faces (including his own), talk, walk, feed himself and interact with other human beings (and animals). He doesn’t know yet that droplets will fly everywhere if he smacks the surface of his bath water. This might be funny or scary to him, depending on his personality. He’s going to learn that a crayon dragged across paper makes a mark, and the colour of the mark corresponds to the colour of the crayon. He will find out that there are things behind doors. He will soon know that if he’s being strapped into his carseat, he’s going somewhere. Things he’s probably not going to learn, no matter how much money you fork over or how many Saturday mornings you burn in traffic, change rooms and line-ups? Swimming. Yoga. Tumbling. Ballet. A musical instrument. Because his little brain’s already working very hard to keep up with the basics! Unless he’s a prodigy, which is unlikely for most of us – in which case his talents will emerge on their own, when he’s ready to reveal them. Maybe parents should ask themselves why babies should learn any of these things. The uncomfortable answer might just be that classes for babies are little more than an expensive way to allow new parents to socialize and kill time between naps.

I could keep going, of course, since the list of things-people-do-that-I-don’t-get is long, and seems to grow regularly. But I’ve reached a thousand words, so I think I’m going to shut down my Little Shop of Say-Whats for today. Stay tuned for part two ….

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “You bag up your leaves and throw them out …. Say what?

  1. Golf! I don’t get it. Not the hitting a tiny ball into a tiny hole. Not the dress code. Not the obsessions developed and money spent. Not the hundreds of litres of fertilizers and pesticides used to maintain a perfect green. Not the vast resources used to turn farmland or wilderness into water hazards and sand traps. I just don’t get it.

    • Ha, ha – I don’t get golf either! I’ve never played it, and I’m hoping to be able to go my whole life without it. Shouldn’t be a problem, since it seems excruciatingly boring.

  2. Yes to all of these things. Here’s something new that I don’t get – those cartoon-y stickers people put on their vehicles, meant to portray their ‘adorable family’. Also their pets. Why? Do you think it makes people smile and assume your family is special? Most likely, it makes people roll their eyes at you and your stupid cartoon family on the back of your mini-van. To me, this is equivalent to the 90’s practice of painting your names on the car doors. Ugh! Does having a family mean you have to flaunt to the world that you are lame and cheesy?
    Sorry to those who think those stickers are ‘cute’ and ‘unique’ (they might have been when everybody didn’t have them).

    • One of my favourite FB pass-arounds in recent years is a picture of a stick figure with a chainsaw attacking a stick family …. 😉 The line says something like “no one cares about your stupid stick family”.

  3. Agree agree agree!

    We also are in a sedan with our two kids. I have contemplated seeing if we could squish three car seats back there. 🙂

    I have friends who have the stick family on their car. Only they don’t have kids. And they are R2D2s. So it’s kind of funny.

  4. I also don’t get why people modify the exhaust system on their car/truck/motorcycle to make them louder. When my car starts making noises like that, I get it fixed.

  5. Pingback: Saying “no” is allowing us to say “yes”. | BethBlog

  6. Pingback: In praise of the dandelion …. | BethBlog

  7. Pingback: Stifling my inner mean girl …. | BethBlog

  8. Pingback: The freedom soldiers won for me includes the right to decorate my home and celebrate holidays any way, any time. | BethBlog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s