Thursday, August 25

Officially Small Town

One of the wildest synchronicities of our move is that - simply through the vagaries of the academic job market - we moved back to the state where we lived three years ago and where we still had our driver's licenses. Even stranger: my license expired the very next day AFTER we closed on our house.

As of yesterday, I'm totally legitimate. I got my new driver's license with our new address on it. I use it to drive our Pod, which even has plates for this state.

I've even recieved my voter registration card, which advises me:
"You should keep this card on your person. It is identification of your right to vote at your new election district. Under the law, you must present a form of identification to the election officials the first time you vote in a new election district."
Boyo, they take these things seriously in these small Red towns. But not as seriously as they take weeds.

One of our introductions to small town life was receiving a letter from the municipality a week after we took possession of our postage stamp of lawn. It informed us that:
"Over the past several years the town has spent a tremendous amount of effort and a good bit of money to improve the appearance and vitality of our town. One of my responsibilities as the Code Enforcement Officer is to inspect properties for violations of maintenance under various ordinances. Not all violations are significant to warrant official action and that is the purpose of this letter. I noticed that grass and weeds are beginning to grow around trees and in the
sidewalks located on your property. Please take the time to remove these weeds and grass; I, your neighbors and others will greatly appreciate it."
Phew! Dodged that bullet. And actually they haven't bothered us since, but those first few weeks without a lawnmower (lent by our fabulous real estate agent) and a weed whacker (really cheapo model that really doesn't quite do the job) were real nail-biters. Were we going to get another letter? Would there be "official action?"

As a sidenote, I'm quite puzzled by my relationship to our lawn. I had thought that I would want to just grow it long - first because of my organic farmer tendencies and second to protest the hegemony of suburban lawn culture. Instead, I'm curiously pleased by its appearance after it has been mowed. (Kind of like my husband after he gets his locks shorn.) It's so satisfying somehow. In the end, I think I'm looking forward to replacing it with trees, flower beds, and a vegetable and herb garden.

Unlike weeds, air quality appears to be a community asset that is deemed unimportant. When D. went to get the Pod inspected, he discovered that our county has chosen to override or ignore the state law requiring an emissions test to register a car.

So there's a lesson for you: keep your grass shorn for the public good, but don't worry about the air we breathe. Which would, ironically, be cleaner if grass were longer and could filter out more emissions!


At 4:04 PM, Blogger J. Blobbom said...

If you put in anything except a lawn, they'll probably fine you. The lawn must prevail in small-town America. They'll think you're communists if you don't want a lawn.

Oh, that's right. You ARE communists!



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