You may or may not remember that, in the past, I’ve waxed eloquent about my love of heavy machinery, specifically forklifts. I used to think the pinnacle of existence would be to tool around my neighbourhood, rearranging picnic tables, delivering pallets, and rescuing those who had had pallets fall upon them mostly (because my stacking of said pallets wasn’t quite up to snuff because I’M JUST LEARNING). But I’m in my late 50s now and it occurred to me that I might have to give up the forklift fantasy. I was initially very sad, but then something ostensibly even better happened. Our neighbour, small engine mechanic extraordinaire and Ken’s boss (as a retirement gig, he does paperwork and deliveries for the mechanic) messaged to ask if we were interested in the John Deere riding lawnmower that he had just refurbished. INTERESTED?! I didn’t even ask how much money he wanted. I just ordered Ken to text him back immediately before he sold it to some other late-middle-aged agricultural aficionada. Ken and I were, of course, about to embark on our European adventure, so we agreed that we would take possession when we came back, which gave me plenty of time to anticipate the day I would ride the majestic Deere like the gardening guru I longed to be.
So when we got back from holidays, Ken went to work and came home later driving the lawnmower (the mechanic lives directly across the street from us), and I was a little upset because I wanted to be the first to drive it. But I forgave Ken immediately once I saw the shiny green and yellow vision ensconced on the front yard. I was dying to mount it as one would a gallant steed and carve perfect diagonal lines into my lawn; alas, rain was in the forecast for the next few days. But last Monday, it was a glorious morning, the grass was negligibly long, and we were having company, so I begged Ken to back the dear John Deere out of the garden shed where it was being housed. Why didn’t I do it myself, you ask? Because I don’t reverse well. Obviously.
The shiny new-to-me lawnmower was now perfectly positioned, facing the correct way and ready to mow. I hopped on—the seat seemed comfortable. I turned the key, with Ken looking on jealously.
Me (yelling): Holy f*ck! That’s loud!
Ken (yelling back): Do you have any headphones to protect your ears?
I hadn’t thought about that. I turned the machine off and went into the house to source some headphones, which I found tucked away in a drawer. Now, I was REALLY ready to mow. I started the engine again—the sound was nicely muffled. Ken explained how to put it in gear, lower the deck, engage the blades and whatnot, and off I went. Ten minutes later:
Ken: How’s it going?
Me (yelling because I’m wearing noise-cancelling headphones): OH MY GOD, I F*CKING HATE THIS.
Ken: Huh? Why?!
Because our lawn is lumpy and I had just spent the last ten minutes bouncing up and down on a lawnmower seat and the vibrations had caused a histamine reaction in both my butt AND my boobs, and I was so itchy I could barely stand it–that’s why, KEN. Also, I was having difficulty gauging how low-hanging our tree branches were and managed to whack myself in the face numerous times whilst simultaneously knocking my stupid headphones off.
Ken: Oh, is that why you kept screaming? Do you want me to finish the lawn for you?
Me: No, I do not. I’m a grown-ass woman and I will do it.
And I did it. Every minute was torture. The only saving grace is that when I was finished, I got off the demon machine and observed the property. There was a noticeable lack of diagonal lines; in fact, most of the lines were circular and criss-crossed each other haphazardly, but the grass was now a respectable length and everything looked quite pretty.
Ken: Did you want to do the weed-whacking as well?
Me: What do you think, KEN?
And then I went into the house and poured a glass of wine. Yeah, yeah, it was only 11 in the morning but I deserved it. And if Ken ever wants me to mow the lawn again, he’ll have to install a cup holder.