Raking Leaves

Every so often I have the urge to fulfill boring domestic responsibilities. As someone with an interest in sociology, I’m aware of what some refer to as the “broken windows thesis.”

The broken windows thesis basically goes as follows: If you’ve got a cracked window and you don’t deal with it, other people decide that they can have cracked windows too. Also, a little bit of trash on the lawn isn’t so bad, so why bother picking that up? And thus neighborhoods fall into disrepair, contributing to crime in the area.

Obviously there’s more to it than that and one cracked window isn’t going to instantly turn a good neighborhood into a bad one, but over time you can push in that direction.

Even if the theory isn’t true your neighbors will be happier with you if take care of your stuff. Thus, yesterday afternoon I finally got around to raking my lawn.

Abby “assisted” me by jumping in the piles of leaves. Rebecca took a nap inside the house.

As of now, I have a large pile of leaves (half the height of my minivan) on the side of the street. Technically I can be ticketed for that. I’m hoping to buy bags before anyone cares.

I’ve found, however, that there are some unexpected side effects of fulfilling social expectations in this particular way. What are they?

1. Blisters on my hands. I don’t use rakes very often.
2. Bad smells. Apparently someone’s dog used my lawn as a toilet and I stepped in the remains. Initially I thought that Abby or Rebecca had a dirty diaper, but couldn’t find any evidence of it. I then went to someone’s house for dinner, tracked across Kristen’s mom’s carpet and attended church before Kristen noticed what was on my shoe.

A person who strongly believes in the broken windows thesis might argue that the dog owner allowed the dog to poop on my lawn because of the outrageous number of leaves. That person might be right.

All I can say is this: If your carpet stinks because I walked across it yesterday, don’t blame me. Blame society.

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