Thirty-eight

You never know what you’re getting with new neighbors. Sometimes it works out wonderfully. Sometimes not so much. I always hope for a young family with small children. I much prefer that over someone my own age, because by the time people reach my age, they can be cynical, mean, “get off my lawn” types.

Who wants to live next to Archie Bunker?

But even when there’s a young family, you never know what you’re getting. We had a young couple move in across the street a couple of years ago, and I made an effort to be a welcoming neighbor. I knew they had small children, so I put together a tray of cookies and goodies I thought everyone might enjoy.

Well, they must have thought I was the neighborhood molester, because they barely cracked the door and only mumbled a feeble “thanks” as they trembled in fear with the children safely behind them. Never saw them again, and I’m pretty sure the food went into the garbage since it could have been poisoned.

Maybe it was too weird for them to see a man roll out the Welcome Wagon. Since I’m in fancy pants Germantown, they probably expected a welcome from a dutiful suburban housewife, staying home, cooking and cleaning and making the daily run to Target, stoned on Xanax and Pinto Grigio. The quintessential Stepford Wife in her perfectly pressed dress, high heels, zombie like eyes and a frozen smile.

Of course we’re much more polite and civilized with our substance abuse in the suburbs, and we can of course afford the best drugs, because we’re hard working Americans.

Speaking of lawns and poison, this morning I took my grandson, Archer, in the backyard so I could water the plants. We’re watering the herbs and flowers when I notice a new neighbor in the house behind us. He walks out the back door, headphones on, never looking up and heads to the garage. When he reemerges, he’s got one of those containers with a pump for spraying poison and a jug of Roundup in his other hand. Then he fills his poison jug and begins the critically important work of spraying. Can’t have any weeds touching our concrete!

Archer and quickly I head inside.

I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked by this since we live in Germantown, where the lawns are monocultures and are perpetually an unnatural shade of green. The gardens filled with non-native plants produce enormous growth, all thanks to a smorgasbord of chemicals. One day, I watched a man spraying poison into his trees, apparently never thinking that the poison was falling back on his head. I was stunned by his stupidity. And now here’s my new neighbor, blithely spraying away. But maybe he is a good dad since he’s keeping his children safe from those pesky weeds.

What’s confounding is why people are still doing this? How can you avoid multiple stories of lawsuits and jury awards against Monsanto? How can you avoid stories about declining bee, amphibian and avian populations due to our use of petrochemicals and poisons?

I’ll tell you how. They only get their news from FOX where they push the lie that science is a socialist hoax designed to hurt job creators and capitalist enterprises. They didn’t study enough science, they don’t read, and they don’t care. Yes, a broad generalization, but generally true. And why should they? They also believe Jesus is in control and coming back soon to save us, so who cares about the damn birds and the bees? It’s all part of God’s plan.

By the way, I wonder what pre-emergent herbicide Jesus uses to control the weeds he created?

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