Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Don't Want to Eat Off of My Driveway!

The natural order of the universe is towards entropy. I learned that mumble,mumble years ago in my high school physics class and, as I discovered today, I would do well to remember that more often. Just in case you don't remember your high school science, what that means is that the world, when left to its own devices, tends to head for chaos, disorganization, and general messiness. Thus, to create order and cleanliness, we must expend energy and remember that once we leave the scene, things will gradually deteriorate again. Weeds will grow, dirt will scatter, things will age and fall apart and until someone steps in to halt or reverse the process, it will continue on.

As a teenager, I found this concept somewhat defeating. Over time, however, I accepted it, which is what one must do with laws of nature. It is not as though we can hold rallies and picket against gravity and change things, after all. I am committed to expending a certain amount of energy to make my part of the universe habitable according to my personal standards, and letting the rest go.

This morning I drove to the local equipment rental store to pick up a pressure washer. We are finally having some painting done on our patio walls and I promised the painter I would eradicate the last seven years of spider webs and dust and cottonwood fluff sticking to the rough ceiling beams and walls before he begins next week. Wielding the long wand, I attacked the poor unsuspecting bugs and spiders lurking in the shadows and sent them packing with my tsunami. The dirt rolled down the side of the house and I had a moment of instant gratification. This would be fun!

I suggested to my husband that, while we had this magnificent machine, I might as well use it to clean the sidewalk and driveway of their accumulated grime. He heartily agreed and promptly disappeared inside. After ten minutes of rhythmical back-and-forth spraying, I noticed a huge difference. Our front walk and driveway are aggregate cement, the tiny rocks that protrude out trap every piece of dirt and compost that is blown over, poured over and walked onto them. Unfortunately, it had taken ten minutes to do about three square feet of space. Hmmm.

I loathe leaving things unfinished, so I pressed on. Thirty minutes later, my hippie physics teacher's voice popped into my head and I realized the ridiculousness of what I was trying to do. We live on two acres near a creek. We have two cats, two young children and a dog. There are fifteen other children in our neighborhood and seven other dogs. I love to garden and am constantly tracking dirt and manure and compost across the driveway into and out of the garage. I was wasting my time and energy battling a law of nature. Screw the 65 bucks I spent on the pressure washer; I'm going inside to play Candyland with the girls!

5 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Candyland over pressure washing? You're a bigger woman than I!

jennifer said...

Good post, Kari.

Thank you for sharing your writing practice!

XO J.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Cleaning the driveway? Isn't that a bit like ironing jeans? Drop the pressure washer....walk away from the pressure washer.

Jenny Rough said...

I never bought into this theory. Seems to me the universe strives towards balance and equilibrium. Guess that's why I got a horrible grade in physics class!

ammogirl said...

I knew there was a reason I dropped out of that damn physics class!

I am so glad I have someone who believes me when I say our teachers were all hippies.

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