If you leave my house via the back gate (you’d have to get me to unlock it for you) it’s just a short walk to the footbridge that crosses the railway line. After crossing it it’s then just another short walk until you come to Edward Street. If you turn right you’ll walk past a particular house, a house that stands out because it has fake grass. It probably doesn’t stand out that much, not in the way a house in a heritage-listed area would if it was painted pink, but I think it does a little. (There was a minor local controversy once when a house in a different area was painted purple. I believe the heritage colour codes won out in the end.) I walk past this house quite a bit and more often than not I think about the fake grass. It doesn’t seem right. The grass is approximately the same colour as natural grass I suppose, but then that too is strange. Because the fake grass always looks this same colour. Seasons have no impact on it. It doesn’t darken with the rain or attain a brittle yellow tinge in the hottest sun. And leaves and twigs and so forth don’t join with the grass in a normal mulchy way. They sit there on a bed of plastic, looking confused by the lack of normal decomposition potential. I wonder if the people that own the house need to get out and rake the leaves off their fake grass, and whether this process is harder or easier. I think it would have to be harder. In fact I think they would need to employ some sort vacuum to get the job done.
There are signs advertising the fake grass installation process on the fences around the house. This makes it clear that the people who own the house run a business installing fake grass. Or, there is a chance the people that purchased the fake grass got a special deal, based on the agreement that they would have these signs put up. The owners of the business must think that because Edward Street is a busy street people will see the signs, be impressed by the fake grass (and its implicit promise of low maintenance) and call to make an enquiry. The problem is though that the fake grass looks really odd and I don’t think many people would ever call. Except maybe people wanting to find out what it costs to install fake grass but for ulterior motives (to add some substance to an anecdote about how much they hate fake grass for example).
The signs on the house have recently been joined by a yellow For Sale sign. The house is very close to the centre of town, so I imagine there will be interest in the property. People will look through it and evaluate it for either residential purposes or investment purposes. But what will they think of the fake grass? If I bought the house I would immediately rip it up and begin the replacement process. It would be a strong gesture aimed at ‘getting back to nature’. I would talk to my new neighbours about it and they would start to see me as a man of principles. They might even reveal that they never liked the previous residents. But would I eventually question my grass decision? The thinking evident here suggests that would be likely. Grass isn’t really something that should be in the front of every Australian household. If you didn’t plant it, water it, and throw an obscene amount of water on it it just wouldn’t be there. The stuff we see is generally not native. It is part of an outdated class construct, existing to fulfil our English fantasies of luxury. I can afford to own this land but no one shall live on it! And really, nobody even follows through with the ideal by getting dressed up to have tea and cucumber sandwiches while lounging in the ‘grounds’. At best we use the grass for bbqs. Sometimes I think about how good it would be to have a pristine grassy area that the kids could play on. In the images in my mind at this time, I am often standing near the bbq, drink in hand, observing the rollicking play as the sun sets.
This morning I realised the auction date is set for this Saturday. I am thinking of going along. If I bring my wife with me I think we could pass as potential homebuyers. Really I will be there to monitor peoples’ reaction to the fake grass. Maybe I’ll arrive early and talk with the more authentic homebuyers. I’ll say things like ‘What do you reckon about this shit fake grass?’ I’ll let you know how it all goes.