mower gang

I am still a little obsessed with Detroit.

How could something that was so grand and important fall so far?

It’s pretty crazy.

I was going to write about EBT cards this morning after reading a short article on my MSN homepage.  There was a mention of people abandoning carts full of food in a grocery store in Maine because their cards stopped working temporarily.

That article made me think of a time when I was in the old Ingles store on Charlotte St. buying a small bag of rice and some chicken livers to cook for dinner…and the guy in front of me had all these steaks and some other pretty good-looking food…and when he paid he used food stamps.


I was amazed.  I didn’t have any experience with food stamps.  Those were some nice looking steaks.

How do you do that? How does that work?

I held my little plastic container of chicken livers and my bag of rice in one hand… and my small pile of quarters in the other hand while I watched him climb into a nice BMW and drive away and wondered, again, “how do you do that?”.

I was going to write about how it felt to not have a lot of money…and to be living (kind of intentionally, really) sort of “close to the bone”…and seeing this guy working the system and living “better” than I was (eating steaks, at least…maybe not better).

I was going to write about how that felt to wonder about a system that lets people get a full cart of food.

I don’t know about that.

There’s been periods when I didn’t have any money…but I never really knew poverty.

Playing at being a “starving artist” is different than knowing what poverty is about, I think.

I was going to write about that but I thought it would be a lot more positive to write about these guys who go into some of the parks in Detroit and maintain the grass so kids can use the park again.

That’s more positive than writing about how some people just seem to have a talent for working the system.

(But…in the people “using the systems” defense…the “system” itself seems to be pretty good at keeping people enrolled and signing up “new recruits”.  It seems to be big business to keep the wheels of poverty and dependence on the government greased…got to keep the folks handing stuff out employed, too. I guess. Maybe it’s just another “control thing”…just the Man keeping us down..)

What’s encouraging about this video is that it shows that there’s a lot of different ways to “work the system”.

From everything I read or hear about Detroit, it sounds like the system has pretty much broken down.

Locally, at least, there doesn’t seem to be much of a system left to “work”.

I guess you can still ride the Federal Govt…when it’s working…but Detroit is in bad shape.

So here comes the dudes with their mowers…cleaning things up a little so the wheels can start rolling again.

I love the part of this video where he says something about knowing what he could do to help…he could buy a mower on Craigslist and start cutting grass. That’s so simple.  It isn’t flashy or designed to draw a lot of attention.

It’s not something a politician would do.

When he talks about having fun doing it…just getting together with his friends who enjoy mowing grass and having fun…that’s so freaking great.

Places like Detroit are such a huge canvas for improvement…people deserve something better than what they’re living in when it’s so broken.

People take care of things when they can feel hopeful about the future. From my experience, hopefulness builds on itself, too.  When I’m on a roll and feeling good about my future, I’m a lot more apt to suspect that things might work out…that whatever I try to do might work out.

I’m a lot more apt to just TRY when I think I might be successful.

I don’t know if letting the government take care of our needs allows any hope for the future.

I don’t trust the government to make my future good. I don’t have faith in the government to do that.

It’s naive for me to think that I understand anything about Detroit.  I don’t know that life…it never was my life, so what do I know about it?

I think things are probably only going to get good when we start taking care of each other and push the govt. back a few steps….let the government take care of the government…let us take care of each other.

Again…probably naive.

I love watching these guys jump in with their mowers to do what they can, though.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.


mower gang — 1 Comment

  1. Wow…very interesting. What they are doing is a great idea. Thanks for writing about it.