The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh


 I would like to apologize to our neighbors, block, zip code—  Really, to everyone, in Los Angeles?  For our front lawn.  True, the word "lawn" is stretching it.  It is more an ugly brown snarl.  I want to throw a sheet over it, like a corpse!  Or at least put up a sign that says, "We know, we know.  And we're sorry!"

When I bought the house many years ago, the grass was green.  Our gardener Vic was a genius at setting sprinkler timers—  I have a physics degree, and couldn't figure it out—  The lawns looked great and then we got our first—?  Well, it was less a water "bill" than a water citation.  A water tirade.  A water hazing.  Our utility company began mailing us hurtful bar graphs, showing what hogs we were compared to our water-conservant neighbors.

So in deference to Jerry Brown's drought emergency, we decided to let the lawn turn the color of the governor's name.  It was a badge of eco-honor.  But then, another problem. Every Saturday morning at 8 gardener Vic showed up with a high-pitched, shrieking machine that he would use to blow dead leaves around our dead yard for an hour.  The ear-splitting sound was no doubt meant to show us that he was busy quote unquote "gardening."

It took another two years for me to let him go—  The irony was that I would have kept paying him to stop leaf-blowing—  But he refused—  Then we go out of town for two months and it rains.  A lot.  We return to "grass" that is almost waist high.  I use the word "grass" but in fact this greenery looks sub-tropical.  There are giant tear-drop-shaped leaves and thick leathery stems and twisting vines.I struggle with the weed-whacker to take off the top foot of it— I'm startled by a swarm of exotic butterflies and insects. I hear a shuh-duh-duh-duh-duh.  I'm actually a little spooked.  What will I find in there next?  A pterodactyl?  A cow?  A baby?

The rains go away—  And the area turns Jerry Brown again—  But now, since I gave the jungle a very messy, tortured haircut, instead of just a sedate dead lawn it looks like crazy people live here.  We consider installing a drought resistant garden, but we get quotes of $10,000!  Maybe we should scatter dozens of pots of little cacti around the yard. Or maybe we should just park our cars there.  

Yes, that's the ticket.  My car is a Prius.  It's eco-fashionable.

Next week: The window treatments of your dreams.