Monday, May 25, 2009

Stay Off the Grass

The other night after dinner at the hotel restaurant on campus, my friends and I decided to go outside and enjoy the nice spring night. The hotel has a small stretch of grass that forms their lawn situated off to the side. We all grabbed a piece of paper to put under our bums ( a very local thing, no one sits down on any outdoor surface without first making sure they are sitting on something. Sometimes the only clean paper they have is a receipt and hardly covers ones whole bottom, but they sit on it anyway) and plopped down. In my mind this is what a grassy lawn was made for. It was made to be enjoyed by people, as they spend their idle hours out running, sitting, picnicking, flying kites, chasing kids and enjoying nature.

That has not always been the view of grass in this country. In fact it is only in the last 10 or so years that they started to replant grass in the cities. It use to be considered an extravagant luxury that only those in the western world would waste land and energy to plant and maintain. I remember reading in a history book about how school children use to spend their study time pulling up the grass by hand in an attempt by the government to rid themselves of it. For years this place was nothing more than a concrete block. As green grass now finds its way into more corners of the city, its value on it is becoming more apparent. Grass is to look at…it is for decoration and to add to the beauty of the landscape…most definitely NOT TO BE walked on.

If these were lovely manicured thick green blankets of soft grass I could understand a little better, but most of the lawns are “butcher-cut”. My friend looked at it and remarked “…my father would have kicked my bottom if I would have cut our lawn like this and tried to sell it as a job finished!” It was uneven, patchy and dry, but despite that it seemed like a nice place for us to stop and rest.

We sat there on the lawn for a good fifteen or twenty minutes before we were discovered by the grass police swat team ( okay so it wasn't that bad). A young man dressed in his hotel suit was purposefully striding our way. He could have been out for a walk, or on his way to somewhere else but no, it was pretty obvious WE were the destination. He did not mince words, we were asked to get off the grass… it was not allowed for people to use this well established, butcher-cut strip of landscape to place their bottoms on!

Spring has sprung and we are enjoying it from a distance.

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