“Lawns are nature purged of sex and death.” – Michael Pollan
“Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit.” – Milan Kundera.
When you are in a long-term relationship with someone, you become intimately acquainted with the things that make them angry. Wes could tell you just how much I loathe AstroTurf, you know, fake grass. He could talk about the way my face screws up when we pass a yard smothered in the stuff and how I will loudly rant about how revolting I think it is, hoping that the proud homeowners might hear me and feel ashamed of themselves.
I despise AstroTurf. I abhor AstroTurf. The fury I feel against AstroTurf is violent, animal, insane and incoherent. This is not going to be a rational bit of writing because I want to destroy AstroTurf and everything it ever loved. I want to send incriminating nude photos of AstroTurf to its boss, arsefuck its spouse, murder its children, douse its house in petrol, burn it to the ground and then take a great big shit on AstroTurf’s gormless fucking face. Seriously, fuck AstroTurf. AstroTurf is a fucking cunt.
Ahem. Breathe, Jessie. Remember your mindfulness meditation exercises. Okay. Okay I’m calm.
So, why do I hate counterfeit lawn with such a passionate intensity?
Because it is a plastic blanket of death that suffocates the life underneath it and denies even humble earthworms the potential for habitat.
Because when someone chooses to cover their entire lawn in green simulacra, they exhibit a twisted nostalgia for nature, where they long for the beauty of it but none of the hassle, so they murder it, stuff it with taxidermy foam and keep it on their mantelpiece with a fake smile sewn onto its face.
Because I believe that the desire for perfectly manicured lawns comes from the same psychotic fear of the uncontrollable aspect of nature that causes people to spray a moat of insect repellent around their entire house because God forbid they share their patch of the planet with any other living creature.
Because it is an eyesore that will only get worse as it fades, degrades but doesn’t biodegrade.
Because it feels like shit.
Because it is shit.
But most of all, because I am seeing it everywhere. Every day, when strolling around my suburban neighbourhood, I spot a new property with a sheet of synthetic green death proudly spread on the ground. I suspect it is partly a response to issues of water scarcity but I highly doubt that any serious conservationist would cry “Aha! The answer to our problems is plastic!”
Good old fashioned grass lawns are already environmentally irresponsible, they use too much water, represent the opposite of biodiversity and are a waste of land that could be planted with natives, flowering and fruiting plants, things to provide precious habitat for the critters we share this planet with. So yeah, grass lawns are bad but AstroTurf is like their evil mutant cousin that kills everything it lays on, is ugly as sin and will be around for much longer than we are.
Oh… God. Is this to be our legacy?
In 100 years, most of us who are alive right now will be gone but we will leave behind bleached coral, drowned countries and faded plastic grass.