Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm sick of looking incompetent!

    I mowed the lawn.  I'm not asking for an award or anything; I just had to beg for some advice.

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    Our yard is almost a third of an acre.  Every time Cade mows it, I feel so bad for him.  That's why, the other day when the code enforcement guy drove past on his four wheeler, I decided to mow the lawn.  Now, this has never worked out well for me because two times (in the past) people have stopped and asked why I'm out working on the lawn.
    "Because I want to," I said each time.
    "Well, your husband should be mowing the lawn."
    "I wanted to mow it."
    "But it's your husband's job."
    Those comments made me so angry!  Especially since one guy came and had a talk with Cade about it.  "Your wife shouldn't be out mowing the lawn; it's embarrassing for you.  You're the man!"
   Those people make me hate living on a busy street--hate living in the town we're in.  Plus, if I want to mow my lawn, I don't see an issue with it!  So, the other day when I got ready to work on the yard, I slipped into a tank top, and swore I'd punch the first person who told me yard-work is a man's job!
    I mowed, having a grand ol' time, singing against the rumble of the mower.  I thought of growing up and how my dad used to love working on the lawn.  I giggled, wearing mower gear and deciding I might have a beer when I was done; I didn't know why but my dad said drinking and mowing went hand in hand.  That made me feel extra neat until some guy's truck purred to a stop across the street.
   He sat there, watching me and the birds stopped singing.  (Well, I couldn't hear them chirping before 'cause the mower was loud, but if I was a bird, I wouldn't have made a sound!)  I pushed the lawn mower faster and faster.  I glanced over my shoulder and hoped I could get away from the man's judgmental eyes.  It reminded me of the scary movie where the girl dies right after mowing her own damn lawn!  
    I swore he stared at me funny, looking at my back (or butt) and making me feel defiled.  Maybe mowing the lawn was too dangerous for me.  Maybe it attracted weirdos!  Even though I mowed faster, the jerk just waited for several minutes until my bag was full and I turned the mower off.
    "You need some help, miss?" he asked slowly in a crazy drawl.  "I'd happily mow the lawn for you.  You're an awful skinny, little thing to be mowing the lawn."
    An awful . . . skinny . . . little thing!   
    If he wanted to hurl some accusations, I could shoot some his way.  I was done being scared.  That old coot had made me angry!  He didn't seem the mowing type!  He looked like he was five-hundred years old.  He'd lost hair.  He was dressed up in a suit, on his way to church (not wearing mower gear and not someone who'd drink a beer). 
    I studied him; yep, I could mow circles around that sexist man.  
    "I think I got it," I said as I shook grass into the garbage can.  I'm sure I didn't look very capable as I did it.  The bag was a bit heavy.
    "Well ma'am, in my religion the men do the yard work."
     Did he really want to go there?  Seriously?  'Cause in my religion, you don't stare at a married woman's back for twenty minutes! 
    I gave him a crusty.  I actually gave that poor, old man a crusty--that's a big deal for me because usually I'm nice even when I'm mad.  
    The point is that I don't want to live life in some box.  If I want to mow my damn lawn, why do a million people always have to stop me?  Maybe I look really pathetic.  Maybe they think I've suffered a brain injury.  Or, maybe people are just being . . . nice.  But there is a point where it's not nice anymore and it's just offensive.  I mean, I could see him offering to help if I was a cripple, or if I'd cut off all my fingers and not just my thumb!  I'd understand if he hadn't eyed me for minutes on end!
    I probably sound terrible.  I probably do, but it's aggravating.  It makes me want to join the military just so I can look capable.  It's not that man's fault.  I bet he was being nice--maybe. And he would have mowed my lawn, even if he needed his cane and oxygen to stand.  
    I wasn't really mad at him or his religious beliefs.  I was upset that I didn't look capable of pushing a self-propelled LAWN MOWER!
    "You sure you don't need any help?" the man asked again, his eyes lingering on my boots, my holey jeans and then my tank top.
    "I'm fine!"  
    The man drove off toward the church.  I imagined Cade's response if people always asked him if he needed help mowing the lawn.  The thought was comical.  He would have ripped them a new one.
    So, instead of finishing the front yard.  I trudged into the house and grabbed a beer.  I suddenly understood why drinking and mowing go hand in hand.   My dad's such a wise man.  I swear I learn something from him at least once a week!

So what do you think?  Would you get frustrated or am I just being silly?  Basically I want you to pick a side.  Are you on mine or that old man's?  Be honest.  Go anonymous if you have to.  I need  some real opinions on this.