Lawns of Consciousness

I just finished mowing.  Literally, I am still soaked with a combination of sweat and cold hose-water.

I just love it.  Five years ago, my very first column was an ode to the joys of cutting the grass.  It is enforced aloneness with myself.  And am I the only one that has an almost constant commentary running through their head?

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I think in complete sentences.  When I cook, I have a cooking show up there.  Put me in front of a camera and I’d forget how to make a PBJ.  But in my kitchen, all by myself, I am as funny and knowledgeable as Alton Brown, as experienced and charming as Julia Child, and as bewitching and effortlessly chic as Nigella Lawson.

When I mow, I have odd little daydreams, think “great” thoughts, and write columns in my head.

In a meta twist that M. Night. Shyamalan didn’t see coming, the very column you are reading right now was conceived today while I was walking behind my trusty Honda lawnmower.

For years, I’ve been mowing the same path, listening to the same music on the same MP3 player.  I’d know by where I was in the process when a certain song came on, whether I was slower than normal or rushing.

As most folks, I’m stuck at home in this weird limbo where I don’t know what day of the week it is, and so bored that I spend way too much time deciding on my outfit to run to the drive-thru at CVS.

But I still have some power; to mix things up, take a hard left, make it dangerous.

Your intrepid author, in all my 1980’s glory.

Today I not only changed the route I mowed, I changed the music.  Instead of the same club mix of swing music, I listened to a big, eclectic collection of 80s music.  Tunes from bands like Tears for Fears, Prince, and Squeeze.

Most people understand a second language much better than they speak it.  I speak Spanish pretty well, I’d say I’m 35-40% fluent.

My comprehension, though, is really lacking.  I tell people to think of me as a dim-witted child; please use very simple words and speak slowly.

It’s probably related brain-wise that I’m also really bad at understanding the words in music.  I am the girl that sings, “Oh is it the tan you wear?” instead of what U2 actually sings, “Or is it the time of year?”.

But occasionally after hearing a song more than 10,000 or so times, I begin to understand the words.  Not long ago I realized Rick James was talking about a groupie and S-E-X!

I’d like to know, what is up with ants this year?  If you had an apartment downtown the square footage of these anthills, there’d be a waitlist and a boat-load of amenities.

I try to remember to spray beforehand.  But when it’s dusty when I mow, it’s like I’m inhaling an ant graveyard.

And I can’t help but think about a Night Gallery episode where this jerky writer washed a spider down the sink and it came back the size of a pony.  I’m kind of nervous that I’ll wake up one night and a six-foot-tall ant will be standing over me holding a cast iron frying pan in one hand and a jelly doughnut in the other.

Usually, when I come in after mowing, I drink an icy cold bottle of Fanta root beer.  It’s such a treat, so cold, spicy, and aromatic it almost takes my breath away.

But today’s water.  I’m making potato salad for dinner.  So those root beer calories are already spent.

Thanks for your time.

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Why We Write

I went to BJ’s and picked up some Nabs for Petey.  And because I got them at BJ’s, there were 36 full-sized packages of crackers and peanut butter in the pack—hey, he likes Nabs, and they were really cheap.

But the upshot was that I was standing in my kitchen wondering how and where to store enough Nabs for, literally, the whole class.  I decided to check our guest/box room for a forgotten basket or vessel of some kind.

final_5c11666232962c0013aa6d0bWhile I was in there, I noticed an old Duke three-ring binder.  I opened it to see if there was anything interesting in it.  In it was pure comedy gold.

Among the many camps The Kid attended while in school (cooking camp, camp at the Museum of Life and Science, a history museum camp that was an immersive experience in the WWII Homefront) was a Duke-sponsored writing camp.  The first year our child was a day-student.  The second was extended day, and for the last year it was sleepaway camp.The Kid has always had an interesting imagination, and a way with words.  Not long after learning to write, my child wrote a story about a pirate that was both afraid of the water and prone to extreme seasickness.  I know that’s my baby, but c’mon, that’s hilarious—I mean, just picture that poor guy.  Somebody’s junior high had the world’s worst guidance counselor.Each morning at camp they had a writing exercise.  They were given a prompt and had a set amount of time.  Where they went was up to them.

I’m guessing that this particular topic was handed out in either later days of a session, or if early on, not The Kid’s first year at camp.  There is a certain element of smart alecky-ness to the result.What follows are The Kid’s own words.  Comments from me are in italics.

I write because:

Because I think my dog is writing about me.  Our new dog doesn’t write, he instagrams and snapchats.crowleygramBecause the mole men tell me to.  They’ve stopped urging creativity and are now focused on digging and building an underground kingdom into which I’ll one day fall while mowing the lawn, never to be heard of again.

Because the lady at the drive-through gave me the evil eye.  She still does.

Because I want to scream but am in a library.  Nothing’s scarier than a librarian’s glare.

This guy says, “write”, I write.

Because a leprechaun I met when I was three told me I had to.  But not one word about that darn pot of gold.

Because my mom likes purple.  Yup.

Because I once saw a gremlin on a plane.  First I’ve heard about that.Because they serve a combination of chicken and fish called a chish.  Gross.

Because I expect the mother ship any day now.  Is mother ship one word, or two?

Because stereoditional is too a word.  It kind of sounds like one of those huge German portmanteau words that possess a paragraph of meaning.  Here’s my take: stereoditional is an object, or a state that can only exist as a pair, like bookends.  Or, an old lady’s purse and Kleenex.Because I have a chalkboard full of ideas and I can’t write about just one.  Lay’s potato chips of the mind.

Because the spirit of Bob chooses you to read your writing.  Don’t know a Bob. I think maybe The Kid was running out of gas here.There you have it.  A hopefully humorous, but more likely unsettling look into the mind of my one and only progeny.  Who’s now living as an independent, unmedicated adult.

Heaven help us all.

Thanks for your time.