When I was a kid, we had a gardener that came weekly. Actually, we still do have a gardener that comes weekly, but all he does is mow, and take down an occasional branch or tree. He's sort of worthless for anything else. Anyhow, growing up in southern California like I did, we didn't have grass, we had a ground cover called dichondra. It really didn't need to be mowed much, so the gardener trimmed the shrubs and cleaned the beds, but he didn't weed the ground cover. I'm not sure if this was some deal he made with my father, who could be quite the sadist when provoked, or he just didn't see this as part of his services. Whatever, it didn't much matter. Because when there were weeds, there were us kids to pull them out.
This was a punishment that my parents meted out when they thought we were being particularly obnoxious. Being the mean parents that they were (and they were really mean), they made us weed 'by the bag'. We'd be sent outside with one of the weed forks and a big brown grocery store bag, and we couldn't come back in until the bag was filled to the brim with weeds.
This doesn't sound so horrible now, as an adult, and it certainly was motivating factor for me to put down weed killer on my lawn each spring. But to a kid, this was a punishment that was so horrid, it seemed that death would be better. You see, LA in the summer is really really hot. Our lawn was in full sun, as our trees hadn't yet grown to full height. So we would be scooting all over the rather large expanse of front lawn, pulling those freaking weeds out with such a vengence you just can't imagine the hatred we felt. It really really sucked.
So why am I thinking about this today? Because I had the gall to ask my son, the Boy, to please help me pull some weeds around the tomato plants. Yes, call CPS now, because I'm obviously an abusive mother. Just ask him. First he did the Ahhhhhhh sigh, which means that he's just too exausted by life to even consider stepping outside and getting his hands dirty. But after grabbing him by the elbow and standing over him like a slave overseer, he bent down with a grunt and pulled out a few weeds. It was grueling work. He had to weed a full 10 feet of 2' wide bed, half of which was filled with tomato and nasturtium plants. The torture. The humiliation!
It took him less than 10 minutes to get the bed cleared, and in brown garbage bag terms, he might have pulled 1/4 of the bag, tops. And yet he acted like this was one of the worst things to ever have been asked of him. It brought back those memories of how much I hated weeding when I was his age. Is weeding really that horrible? Or is it just one of those things that teens think someone else should do, like dishes, garbage, cleaning, laundry, and homework? Stumble It! JBlog Me