By R.G. Evans
Three weeks into the drought, the city imposed water use restrictions. On this side of the street, we can water plants and lawns on odd days. Across the street, they’re supposed to water on evens.
I hear the *psst-psst-psst* of sprinklers from my neighbor Joe’s lawn across the street. It’s the 17th. Which is odd.
The 800 number we’re supposed to call to report offenders—the one Joe called to report me last week—hangs on a magnet on the side of the fridge just below where I keep these binoculars. I could call. I could report him like he reported me. But what kind of neighbor would that make me? Live and let live.
Two days later it’s the 19th and, sure enough, I see Joe’s sprinkler heads pop up from his lawn like prairie dogs and begin their scofflaw work. I lower the binoculars, and again, consider calling the 800 number. Instead, I take the driver from my golf bag, crunch across my lawn (brown as a vacant lot), and cross the street.
Stepping onto Joe’s grass feels like stepping into an oasis, a plush green carpet, one of the fairways at Pebble Beach. I’ve been working on my stance–head down, elbow straight–and it shows. The first sprinkler head soars down the street and lands on the Burnett’s lawn, every bit as brown as my own. On my follow-through after the second head (a bit of a slice), Joe’s out the door, speed-walking barefoot over his lush, damp lawn.
As I move to the final sprinkler head, Joe closes the difference between us, cursing loudly–but, as the pro at my public course says, concentration is the strongest part of my game. I swing and the sprinkler twangs, its head hitting Joe right between the eyes. I hear a little splash as he hits the ground hard.
Back home, I clean my driver, pour a cup of coffee, and flip the switch to turn on my own sprinklers. Through the spray, I see Joe still facedown on his illegal, emerald lawn. It’s still the 19th. But now we’re even.