Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Neighbors' Grass

     The grass is always greener on the other side.  I speaks a lot for what we've learned as a society that I have never hear or uttered that time-worn expression in a non-sarcastic manner.  I've never been clinging to a life raft in the South Atlantic and seen a piece of flotsam bobbing by on the current and thought to myself "I wonder if I would have a better chance of floating to safety on that thing.  I mean, it looks pretty rickety and is barely afloat, but you know the saying: 'The grass is always greener on the other side.'"  Then, ten minutes later I am going my best imitation of Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic and slipping beneath the waves.  Whenever I say it I am always sitting at my desk talking about how that girl over in that other department traded in her super nice, successful boyfriend just because he smokes and hooked up with that transient who floats through town once every three months and who never has a job but his parents bought him a SWEET Jeep that he doesn't deserve just because he looks cool and now we all know she's going to be miserable and worse off.  Inevitably, someone says "Whatever" and I go "Yeah, the grass is always greener..."  I don't even finish it.  That's how deeply and sarcastically it's ingrained into out collective psyche.  So we know, right?  We understand all about it, don't you think?  Yet still...
     Yet still we spend the bulk of out lives either sleeping or chasing after the things we don't have and can't possibly need.  What surrounds us, what we call our own is never good enough, and it's like a race to get to where we are not.  Now, because I am so fantastic, I will give you an example.  Let's take a look at age.  Well, not age so much as a concept relating to age that there really isn't a good word for yet.  For instance, when you are young, like in your teen years, you spend all your time trying to be older.  You steal you brother's car even though you are not old enough to drive.  You sneak into movies rated "R."  You get in way over your head doing something because you want nothing more than to be older than you are right now.  Well here's the deal, sister.  Appreciate the youth that you have, because by the time you are my age or older, like in your forties, you do nothing but try to recapture your youth.  Hello!?  you play softball and climb around on the roof, you buy a fast car and act like you're all cool.  You spend your forties trying to do all the stuff that you didn't have time to do when you were in your teens because you were too busy acting like you were in your twenties.  But the grass is always greener...
     It happens with the little kiddos, too.  I am at the point in my life where the people that surround me are starting to have kids.  And once those kids get to a certain age, like two or so, they decide that naps no longer are part of their agenda.  And that's bullshit.  Because I am not that old, and you know what?  I would kill the right person if it would get me a nap.  I would steal a car, drive it around town, bouncing off other cars, the take it to the abandoned quarry and light it on fire to collect the insurance money for the owner if it meant I could just lie down for like two hours in the afternoon.  Yet somewhere out there David Nathaniel is marching his kids Trail of Tears-style (sometimes literally its a trail of tears) up the stairs to bed.  If they only knew.  But they see the grown-ups are awake all day and being awake is WAY more fun than being asleep in their book and so the battle begins.  And here I am chugging coffee at 2:30 pm because if you fall asleep in a desk chair bad things happen.  But the kids don't know.  The grass is always greener...right kids?
     And so it is.  We always aspire to something other than our own reality.  Young men with full heads of hair are shaving them bald while balding men are paying to have the hair from their thighs planted on their scalps like so many stalks of wheat.  We can never like what we have, but somewhere, someplace, at some time, some person is wanting exactly what we have today.  The Worldwide Headquarters is in a centrally located building within walking distance of work, the grocery store, and the movie theatre.  Yet I have been surfing local realty company websites despite the fact that I am too broke to even think about maybe thinking about buying a house someday.  And somewhere there is a person who is really sick of mowing the lawn and isn't so keen on having to drive everywhere for everything.  The grass is always greener...
     Now I know what you are thinking.  I can hear you whispering it to your friends.  And I admit it.  Sometimes the grass IS greener on the other side.  Sometimes it's literal.  Back at the old Worldwide Headquarters the neighbors always watered their lawn.  The landlord did not.  So the grass was literally greener on the other side.  But they paid dearly when the water utility came calling ever month.  So while what he has and she does may seem so much better, there is always some sort of trade off, some sort of hidden cost.  And so it goes, with everything in life.  The grass is always greener...
     The worst part, the WORST part, is that you usually can't see the other side.  One has to jump the fence on nothing but faith alone.  That's where the sarcasm comes in.  Because often it's pretty good where you happen to be sitting.  The grass around your feet is lush and green in it's own right.  Maybe not fairway-at-Augusta green but green enough.  It takes a great amount of consideration, and a considerable leap of faith to jump the fence into the unknown on the neighbors grass.  Often it's green and lush and verdant.  And often it's a desolate wasteland of brown sticks and tennis balls that have been run over by the lawn mower.  But you never know, and that's the adventure.  It's one thing to make the switch when things are going okay for the wrong reason.  Don't jump the fence away from your green grass just because a dead leaf fell down from above.  But don't stay around until it's all brown.  Knowing when is not so much the trick, but the art.  Because usually there is nothing wrong with your own yard.  You just have to know when conditions are right to go play on the neighbors' grass.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE (your writing, your mind, your soul, all of them?) SO AWESOME [awesome:(adj.) Inspiring or characterized by awe.][awe:(n.) 1. An emotion of mingled reverence, dread, and wonder. 2. Respect tinged with fear.] YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!!

Anonymous said...

Big Dave and Company:

Don't worry - you are driving me a GOOD crazy, a VERY GOOD crazy!! (not a bad crazy) Get it? I should have written my last comment all in one flowing sentence, uninterrupted by dictionary jargon, like this:
YOU ARE SO AWESOME YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!!

Almost insanely yours,

Anon Y. Mous

Anonymous said...

are these comments only creepy to me?