I moved to America from Australia almost five years ago after a long immigration battle, and these days I feel like I'm finally assimilating. My accent has mutated into a weird Ausmerican-hybrid mess that sounds like a drunk person pretending to be Hugh Jackman. I go to the gym regularly to strengthen my arms enough to carry those horse-trough-sized soda cups at the cinema, and I'm sketching out my first "bald eagle ripping open my skin to reveal an American flag" back tattoo.
But there's still a lot about this great country that I don't understand, and I have it on good authority that I'm not alone. Some aspects of the USA are so weird that they leave foreigners scratching our wacky national-costume hats in confusion, no matter how much time we've spent here. For example ...
Americans love lawns like Internet arguers love the word "fallacy." A healthy lawn alone can add 11 percent to the value of a home in this country, and driving down most American suburban streets is like traveling across the back of a giant, furry, green monster that has houses all over its skin and also roads or something and oh god this is why they kicked me out of metaphor school.
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You don't want to know what the swimming pool represents.
It's not that other countries don't have lawns, or that Australians only seed their gardens with spider eggs or something. But with few exceptions, it's only Americans that surround their homes with lawn-oceans so big that they need to own a special type of car with razor blades attached to it just to keep the stuff trimmed. Where I come from, you own a riding mower if you just inherited a soccer field and don't know what to do with it yet. Here, keeping a razor-car around is completely normal, and so is spending half your weekend driving one.
And in America, lawns are hardly ever surrounded by fences or hedges or a barbed-wire demilitarized zone, like they would be in normal countries. Instead, you and your neighbor's lawns must fade into each other like the memories of the shots of cheap whiskey you drank last night. Then your good American neighbor will inevitably mow his lawn right up to the edge of your property, leaving your property's much longer grass sitting there like a topographic map of your own failure.
Why Is It Like That?