Monday, July 21, 2008

I am now a central part of your mind's landscape...

My sister and her partner were in Florida this week, and while they were out of town, I decided it would be a good idea to mow the lawn. It's been raining a lot lately, so the grass has gotten pretty long. Nobody likes to come home from vacation to find their house looks abandoned. Recognizing that by the time they got back it would be hard to distinguish our yard from the yards of the foreclosed homes around us, I penciled in Saturday afternoon as grass cutting time.

Along with her abhorrence for plastic water bottles and her desire to compost virtually all household garbage, including dryer lint, my sister rounds out her Earth-friendly lesbian way of life by owning one of those old school, elbow grease powered push mowers. It is the exact type of lawnmower you'd expect to see Handy Smurf using to spruce up the landscaping of Smurf Village. I had yet to use this charming little mower, and was even somewhat looking forward to what my sister described as "a little work out while you mow."

My guess is that in order to get this "little work out" the grass has to be tackled before it's "we're-about-to-put-a-car-up-on- blocks-y'all!" length. Once it's this long, there is no "little work out," only a frenzy of erratic, desperate pushes and pulls as the mower gets caught in a jungle-like growth of healthy well-watered greenery. I am not an overly self-conscious person, but recognizing that this particular mower looks feeble and antiquated on the best of days, fighting over and over to get the blade wheel to make a full rotation was anxious-making enough for me to feel my face flush even in the presence of the neighbor children. I felt certain they were starting as they went by on scooters and skate boards, all the while wondering, "What's wrong with that lady? Why doesn't she get a real lawn mower?" As a child, I distinctly remember thinking the two elderly ladies who lived next door to us were weird because they had a lawnmower that was bright orange and had a cord that plugged into a socket, so it's no stretch that these kids saw this display as equally odd and suspicious.

I vowed to finish the job, even though I had quickly decided that I might have an easier time with a basic pair of scissors. But it was already looking like it might start raining, and I really wanted D'Anne and Stacy to come home to a freshly mowed lawn. Thankfully, their yard is fairly small and I'm fairly stubborn. I started to do my jerky "push and pull" (which was strenuous enough I had to at times stop myself from audibly grunting - audibly grunting being something I pride myself on not usually partaking in) and I bumped into the trunk of the small tree in front of the house. I thought nothing of it, but a few seconds later heard a loud insect buzz by my ear, followed a second or two later by two more buzzes in quick succession in my other ear, and what felt like six or seven slight taps on my head. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a softball sized hive in a low branch of the little tree I'd just bumped. My brain took just long enough to send the signal to my feet: "Run!! It's bees!" I don't have a lot of experience being attacked by a swarm of angry bees so I don't know if running like hell is the best method. I'm not very "outdoorsy" and the only other "how to protect yourself in case of an attack" information that I vaguely know about is "if a bear approaches you in the woods, lie down and pretend to be dead." I don't even know if this is true or if it'll work. Either way, something tells me that this advice doesn't transfer from bear to bees and would be quite disastrous and akin to giving up if applied to the latter instance. Even if running like hell is the recommended "how to survive when an angry swarm attacks" advice, I don't know how helpful or effective, in addition to the running, my cry of, "What the fuck? What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK?!" was. I fell to my knees a few houses away stunned and relieved when I realized I somehow avoided being stung even once. I looked up to see the neighbor children were, for certain this time, staring at me. I am sure I'll be remembered as "the lady with the weird lawnmower who suddenly started running down the street yelling the f-word and waving her hands in the air for no reason." Fantastic.

Welcome back D'Anne and Stacy! I'm sure by now you've noticed just how shoddy a job I did on the lawn. Maybe ask one of the neighbor children next time.


D'Anne Witkowski said...

Laura, you are a wimp. Maybe if you ate something you could push the lawn mower. Also, maybe if you utilized the easy-to-use length setting you would have had an easier time.

As for the bees: sorry about that. Because of your allergies, if you would have been stung you probably would have died. Still, the image of you running down the street dropping F-bombs makes me laugh every time I think of it. And I do love to think of it.

Oh, and thanks for mowing the lawn.

DonnaE said...

Laura, your daily dose of humor makes me laugh out loud. It also helps me appreciate the small things in life and now I don't feel so bad about the squirrel that pooped on my head as I was walking my dog last week.

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