The West Duluth OG is probably 82. A young and highly-functioning 82. He chuckles a lot and is curious about the unconventional hours we keep. He can see straight into our living room from the second-floor landing of his house, I think, because I saw his girlfriend standing there once in one of those frilly to the chin bathrobes that people of a certain age call a "housecoat." And if I could see her, she can see this week's episode of "Keeping up with the Kardashians." " The West Duluth OG probably doesn't know my name and refers to Chuck as my husband. I do not correct him.
I've seen him clearing our snow. It would be one thing if he was just pushing a shovel up the sidewalk. But he also hooks right and does the path to the front door. He threatens to do the porch. When you wake at 10 a.m. and see a man the age of some of the meatier trees on the block tossing snow load after snow load, you have only one option: Army crawl across the floor so he doesn't see that you're home. Or you can go stand on the porch and say "Oh, OG. Don't worry about that. We'll get it." To which he responds. "Not much more to do. Just let me finish" and you actually feel shame in your TV marathon muscles.
Of course, now we're into mowing season. As of today the score is OG 2, Us 1 in the great lawn-mowing trade of 2012. I'm not sure when he got us -- or if it was even him or one of his family members -- but we're freshly cut today. The grass hadn't even yet reached crises level yet. It was a total sneak attack.
Our yard is a flat rectangle void of any sort of landscaping. His yard has decorative rocks and a cluster of bushes, wonky angles and slight grades. Our yard takes 14 minutes to mow. His is more complicated and there must be a system to it but I haven't found it. I leave always leave mohawk (mow-hawk?) strips and routinely almost mangle the blade on our mower when I hit one of his rocks. Fine. Truth? His takes less than 20 minutes to mow. But still.
So mowing his lawn makes me curse our unspoken tradeoff with the OG. Great, I thought when Chuck texted me that he'd struck again. Now I have to mow his yard next time. And crises level is going to hit in the middle of a week and I'm going to end up waiting for the weekend. But then he's going to get to it first and we'll owe him two mows. And then he'll write on HIS blog about the lazy assholes next door. What if I just made him cookies. How many cookies equal a mowed lawn?
We should be mowing his lawn anyway. Every time. It's in the rule book next to giving pregnant women your seat on the bus and not peeing in the big stall if you can help it. I get that. But we're a more casual folk here. I can only speak for myself and not Chuck when I say that the only reason I mow at all is so that the City of Duluth doesn't come here and do it for us, leaving behind a ticket for our negligence. (Which we could, I guess, then forward to the OG).