I have always referred to my front lawn as The Single Mother Lawn and kind of laughed off the fact that my front patch of grass and weeds looks scary compared to my neighbors. The idea that I needed to deal with the problem was floating around my head when I saw the Chem Lawn truck across the street from Canyon Creek Elementary. I had just dropped off my daughter’s trumpet because she had left it at her dad’s and if we had stopped before school she would have been late. I was dressed and showered for a change because I was on my way into the city for a meeting with an editor over a story I wrote about a 21-year-old basketball superstar. I even had on some makeup, which to most people at the school would be a shock. Mostly I am in sweats and t-shirts with my hair in some form of dishevelment. I once had this neighbor named Marge who came over and when I told her I lost my hairbrush she said, “YOU have a brush?” So anyway, for me, I am looking on the bright side of presentable and I am walking along thinking about how it’s time to start really taking charge and dealing with the dandelions because my neighbors have been good sports long enough. So I walk up to the Chem Lawn truck to ask this guy dressed in forest green if they deal with dandelion problems. I do not have anything in mind beyond weed control.
He looks at me in the strangest way. I have already begun to feel like Holly Hunter in Broadcast News when she says she’s beginning to repel the men she’s trying to attract and this brief discussion with the guy in uniform does not lessen the feeling because he gives me this look like he is a deer in my headlights. And I wonder, am I really that scary? Stranger still, because I had actually showered. But anyway, we chat and the guy keeps giving me the Bambi eyes only his are a really good-weather blue and I’m noticing that he’s kinda cute in a man/boy way. I ask him for his card, I give him my address, he says he’ll stop by and give me a free estimate. It’s already kind of hilarious.
All in the name of weeds.
A few days later, on a Friday afternoon, just after I’m back from the fifth grade eco-cycle field trip–an all day affair which only left me a mere 40 minutes to squeeze in some missed work before I had to pick up my kids, my doorbell rings. I opened the door to the guy dressed in green and with a big gorgeous smile he said, “Hi. You were right about the dandelions.”
I began to wonder if the eco-cycle field trip theme of “Going Green” was extending into my universe.
In the course of ten minutes we have the double entendre working overtime although I don’t think he notices. “It’s pretty bad,” he says. Then he tells me there are insects in my trees and he can trim them and pull up the weeds and spray and cut down this one dead tree and he’ll haul it away for me. “I need a man to take care of this,” I say, and can’t believe that actual sentence comes out of my mouth. He says that he is twice divorced and has two sons from two different mothers. In my head I am so sure that they are both blond, but I don’t ask yet. His fifteen year-old lives with him full time and his nine year old is with him every other week. I am also thinking that I can’t believe this guy is telling me this shit during my lawn consultation but even the phrase lawn consultation is so filled with Monty Python-esque sexual implication that I am howling in my own head.
Desperate Housewives isn’t a TV show, it’s my life. Only who am I kidding, I’m not even a housewife. He says that his young son plays football and he’s an assistant coach and that both his exes married millionaires. “Well maybe YOU need to find a rich woman,” I say. “No,” he says, “I just need to find a good woman.” So now the score is one to one for things I cannot believe we have said mid lawn consultation. We are still standing on my lawn, amidst the dandelions and I have no follow up. He says he’ll spray the trees today and then he has to go because he has a meeting at his son’s school because apparently his son is having some academic problems. So after he sprays he knocks again and I tell him to come in and I offer him some water and he says, “No thanks. I have like a gallon in my truck.” And then he says he’ll be in touch.
I’m beginning to think that there is more than just lawn work going on here but I don’t want to fool myself.
He calls me the very next day. “What are you doing? He asks. “Well. I just took a shower.” I say. “I need to do that,” he says. “What are you doing?” I ask and he says he’s watching the football game and I say well why don’t you come over and we can watch the rest of the game. So he says he’s going to shower and come over and can he pick up some beer and what kind do I like. And then he says, ‘or do you like wine?’ in this way that would imply that that might make me an intellectual or something. “Rolling Rock”, I say. “I like Rolling Rock”. So he shows up in these painter pants jeans type thing and a gray tee shirt and acceptable footwear— Boulderish but not girly and he’s got a bit too much of something—cologne, after-shave, I have no clue. He’s carrying an eight pack. I notice that he’s got huge arms and shoulders, kind of a lifter’s physique, which I’m not into in the slightest bit, but it works for him.
He has brought a bunch of pictures of his son in his football uniform which I find endearing. Sometime during the fourth quarter and overtime of the Nebraska game he tells me that he was married for seven or eight years both times and that he never cheated on his wives but they cheated and they left him for other men. He says he hasn’t dated in about four months. He says he doesn’t really think he was in love with his first wife, but that he was really in love with his second and that they had sex every day for seven years and then she met this guy who owned the business where she worked and one day she comes home and says I’m leaving. He says he is heart broken for 11 months. Wow, I think. This is not in reference to the ditching; this is in reference to the every day for seven years part.
He is very comfortable with the touching right away like rubbing my arm when his son calls on the cell and he tells him that he has to check in and report where he is and what he’s doing. He keeps saying, “Is this fate?” And I say, “I don’t know.” Then he says, “I’m a good man and you’re a good woman and we both put our kids first,” and then he tells me the he’ wants to be my friend and that he is a Christian and he goes to church on Sunday and it helps him. Then he puts my hand on his dick.
“So,” I say, “You want to be my friend? Is that why you put my hand on your dick?” And he laughs and we keep making out. We discuss birth control and he seems relieved that I don’t want babies. He asks me if this is fate again. And he tells me that when he met me I appeared like an angel out of nowhere and then he puts my hand on his dick again. I laugh and take it away. He calls me “honey,” and I say,” Did you just call me honey?” And he says, “Yes.” And I tell him never, ever do it again. And he says he called his wives honey or babe and that old habits die hard. I say, “You call me honey, I’ll call you Lawn Boy.” I think this confuses him.
We take a hot tub and he says you and your two girls, me and my two boys, we could be like the Brady Bunch. I don’t have it in me to tell him that he’s got the math all wrong. Everyone knows the Brady’s were three and three. ‘You are a beautiful woman,’ he tells me. This guy is a line expert and I was broken by a line expert who was several tax brackets of intellect and sophistication higher, but it’s not really all that different. I think it’s just clearer (and much funnier) the second time around.
I am not, however in a thinking mode. I’m in a feeling mode. And it feels good to be feeling a man even though I can’t believe the shit that’s coming out of his mouth. I like being close to him and kissing and touching. On the way upstairs, he puts a piece of gum in his mouth and we go up to the bedroom.
Groping and nakedness ensue. At one point he’s touring the facility and he says ‘Here, take this’ and hands me a small clump of gum. This is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to me while I was in bed. A man, at the foot of my comforter, going down on me and chewing Wintergreen Extra at the same time and I don’t even realize it. I take the gum and stick it to a notepad next to the bed. I am having an out of body moment of hilarity. I am already thinking of two of my girlfriends who will be on the floor for hours when I give them this tidbit of information. The he-man however is having a wee bit of trouble. He also wants to script what I say which I find weird and can’t do. We continue to please each other in certain ways but it’s not having sex and its not making love. It’s this weird limbo. Then he starts talking about how he’s attracted to me and thinks I’m sexy but the big head and the little head aren’t always in cahoots; but that he promises he’ll do better. At some point he does do better but it feels distant for me. I’m taking part in an act and when it’s over he rolls on his stomach like a dead whale and goes to sleep. There is no closeness. He wakes up at five and I walk him to the door. He says we’ll remember this evening for a long time or something like that, some one last line and then he says he’ll call me after church.
And so, my version of “Going Green” was going, going gone, thankfully taking my dandelions as well which was what I had intended in the first place.