Lawnmower Guy Who Cut Grass Before Dawn Shouldn't Have Been Arrested

LawnmowerI’ve had my share of early-morning and late-night annoyances. The guy across the street from a summer place I used to frequent kept his porch light on all night, and it was like a headache-inducing beacon invading my dreams. He also mowed his lawn first thing in the morning. Thing was, he did so with his shirt off, and he was built like Andy Roddick, so all was forgiven.

Apparently Phil Ray Gage of Oklahoma does not have the same charms -- or he pushed his neighbors too far -- because he was very nearly taken away in handcuffs while mowing his lawn. His crime? Mowing too early.

Before you look, ask yourself how early is too early. 9:30 a.m.? 7:30 a.m.? How early do you think it was?

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It was 4:30 a.m. What! The hell! He should have gone to jail just to get some sleep!

Police came to his house and arrested him, then slapped the cuffs on him, he says. In the end, they just gave him a ticket -- which he's fighting.

Actually, I think the guy has a case. First of all, he’s a carpenter, which involves hot, difficult work that starts at 6 in the morning. If I had a tough job like that, and I were still a good enough homeowner to actually mow my lawn, I would expect a medal.

Plus, for his own safety, he knew it was a better idea to do outside yardwork before the sun rose in the scorching, drought-plagued South. Keeping grass short is one way to save water, too. So in terms of efficiency, 4:30 a.m. was actually a smart time to do the chore.

But the thing that really got my goat was this: Gage was mowing a neighbor’s yard in addition to his own, just to be a good guy. And this wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision; he says he's been an early-morning mower for 10 years, without a complaint. In fact, he’s the kind of guy who has all his neighbors' phone numbers, just in case they need help. The only neighbor who wasn't in his Rolodex? The fella who called the cops.

Which leads me to this question: Can’t you open your window and ask the guy to save the lawn mowing for later? Barring that, can’t you use a white-noise machine or earplugs? Barring that, once you have involved the fuzz, can’t the officer just ask the guy to stop rather than giving the guy a ticket? That’s the most ridiculous part.

Anyway, if that overzealous officer is looking for something to do, she can come here to San Francisco and arrest my neighbors to the left for having nicer tomatoes than me, my neighbors to the right for updating their paint job before I do, and the rampant raccoons for being gross. Never mind the crazy pit bull up the street.

Should the pre-dawn lawnmower man have been arrested?


Image via hagwall/Flickr

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