I grew up in a house in a first ring suburb of Minneapolis. The plot of land was clearly designed by an architect who was not from the area: an unpaved driveway went down a hill to a detached garage. In the winter, the driveway was slippery and it was easy for cars to get stuck, and it took a long time to snowblow–shoveling would have been a nightmare.
In the summers, there was the hedge. Planted in a slight depression along the property line with our neighbours (aka, a ditch), the hedge ran the length of the driveway. It was not particularly beautiful, but when left untrimmed, it started to grow wildly. When I was old enough to do lawn work, it fell to me to trim the hedge. As a kid I was never much for any chores, but the hedge occupied a special place of abjection in my young mind. It symbolized the pointlessness of suburban plots of property and all its extra upkeep: it basically existed to cause problems. Nobody appreciated it much except when it got out of control, when they sent me outside to trim it. And that chore was never satisfying to do. At least mowing the lawn resulted in interesting patterns and you could see your progress. It’s also possible I just wasn’t good at trimming the hedge.
All I can tell you is when I read The Myth of Sisyphus in 12th grade humanities, I thought of the hedge.
Years later, Carrie and I moved into a house of our own in Pittsburgh–on a considerably smaller plot of land. One day our slightly cranky neighbour Ellen stood out front her house, surveyed ours, and said to Carrie, “your bushes are out of control.”
We now live in an apartment.