Croquet

I have a large rant about croquet on my mind, so bear with me.

Today, a man sporting the Rolex watch look came in and asked about buying a piece of property on the Big Fancy Lake, the one that Bill Gates lives on, not the tiny one that I live near.  (By the way, the water temperature in my little lake is 45 degrees F today, which I know you've all been wondering about.)  The assessed value of this waterfront lot and house is $1.5 million, and his questions pertained to his goal of purchasing it, tearing down the house, and building a new, much larger house.  This is the kind of customer who I sense would be more comfortable if a man wearing a suit and tie were answering his questions, rather than a woman wearing jeans and a pony tail.

We went over the rules, and I explained that he would be able to build a larger house, but mitigation would be required in the form of planting along the shoreline, which is currently lawn.  He got irritated, and, I must say, I am sooo bored by this response that I can hardly write about it.

People act as if they are the first human to have the idea of being upset by land use regulation, as if their outrage will cause the whole freakin’ bureaucracy to just stop in its tracks.

I was so not in the mood for his incensed behavior that after a bit, I  stopped doing my little code zombie thing that goes:  “Per 21A.24.045D 7, you can add up to 1,000 square feet of footprint to an existing legal non-conforming residence but you’d be subject to the impervious surface limits outlined the P-suffix condition blah blah blah.”

Instead, I let him go off for a while, and he explained how the land is gently sloped down to the lake (I’m sorry but seriously, that’s an actual problem?), and he wants to place a big retaining wall at the edge of the water, and fill it in so it’s all level and he can create a nice flat lawn. 

“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”

“What do you mean?  Are you saying we can’t use our land?  We won’t have any usable space if we plant it all up.”

I’m looking at this guy with these super clean soft hands, and I'm pretty sure the only way he'll be using his lawn is sitting inside with a martini in his hand, watching someone mow it.  I’m also sitting next to the zoning person whose job will end shortly, a woman who has been trying to adopt an orphan from Haiti for a few years, which is frustrating and slow, and now the orphan doesn’t even have an orphanage anymore, so he sleeps outside where the orphanage used to be, breathing concrete dust.  I was really not seeing a problem with natural topography the way the customer might like me to.

“Look, you really don’t play croquet as much as you think you do.  All the cool people are planting their shorelines.”

He seemed surprised.  “Actually, I have a place on the Columbia River, and we do play lots of croquet when we go down there.”

“Perfect,” I said.  “You’ve already got a croquet court.  Here, you’re gonna want to take out that little wall and plant it all up.  I’m serious, it’s really what you’re gonna want.  You're gonna love it.  That’s what the in crowd is doing.”

I weaseled away from the conversation because there was someone else waiting to talk about a neighborly dispute in which the neighbor was manufacturing industrial equipment and possibly illegal drugs in an unpermitted shop in a stream buffer, but it turned out that she was mostly a lonely widow who wanted to tell her story starting in 1992, and not leaving anything out.

I’m a sucker for those people, and tend to get all the way to the end of their story before I start to wonder, wait, does she seem kind of sketchy too?  Which one is really the problem neighbor?  Does it even sound plausible that someone can manufacture the heavy equipment used to lift skyscraper trusses in a residential garage? And a third tiny question I have is, how do people even think of making stuff like that?  Like, hmm, what to make, what to make.  I know!  I’ll make the equipment used to lift trusses for skyscrapers.  Here, in my tiny garage.  Maybe I’ll make some meth in here too, because those are compatible manufacturing processes.  But I digress from my original rant, which is about croquet.

I think the only time people enjoy playing croquet is when they’re drunk, or they’re at the kind of obligatory summer office party where croquet gets them out of mingling with random people, and, by the way, puts a weapon in their hand, just in case.  Are there are people who wake up on a sunny Saturday, home alone, and think, sheesh, I wish I could round up enough people for a game of croquet.  Darn, no one’s around, I’ll go practice on my own.  No.  Those people do not exist. Because the people with a high tolerance for boring pursuits are busy collecting stamps.

Croquet doesn’t even have cool shoes, or more importantly, argyle pants like the Norwegian Olympic Curling team, which, by the way, have their own Facebook page (the pants), with 468,595 fans.  For comparison, there is also a Facebook croquet page with 1,157 fans.  Here’s a quote from the FB croquet fan page, which I believe makes my point better than I could: “Croquet is the type of game that could steal your girlfriend without trying, but doesn't allow itself to.” Much like that quote, croquet is the type of game that leaves me saying, “huh?  Why am I doing this again?  Why do we care if the ball goes through the wicket?”

Comments

  1. Now that was funny. And, I'm left wondering about the lady who is waiting for the Haitian baby; sort of brings a tear to my eye and makes me dislike croquet guy even more because I know he's going to end up yelling at her.

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  2. A glaring example of the continuum we like to call The American Dream: Materialism, unemployment, drugs and refined sport. Oh, and ponytails.

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  3. Hey, I like croquet. But I like wetland buffers even more. You go, girl!

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  4. Thanks for visiting, Jaques. Come back again!

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