Monday, June 25, 2012

Letting go

I lost control of the mower and ran over the exposed cable line outside our house today. Don't tell Groom.

Our mower is a self-propelled walking unit that you control by squeezing levers on the hand grips. If you squeeze the right hand grip, the mower turns to the right. Squeeze the left, it moves left. Squeeze them both and the mower moves in reverse. Tell me: If you're gripping something and you get nervous, is your natural instinct to squeeze your hands? Mine is.

So, as I approached the cable line, I squeezed, which made the mower buck back and come toward me, but since my left arm is stronger than my right arm, it backed up at an angle. Naturally, I let go with my left hand and that caused the mower to jump forward and bank sharply to the right. And, since I didn't let go, it continued around in a full circle with me still attached and chasing after it until it crossed over the cable line.

I can already hear Groom, "It will automatically turn off when you let go. Just LET GO!"

I worked this winter with a former gymnast (yes, gentlemen, she is smokin' hot). She told me she lost "body awareness" once during one of her routines and couldn't complete her drills or whatever. I was like, "There's such a thing as body awareness?"

Groom is giving this advice of "just let go" to someone with no body awareness, someone who gets disoriented diving under a wave, someone who gets vertigo from walking down a spiral staircase, someone who closes her eyes in a fender bender--even when she's driving. (Is it weird I'm referring to myself in the third person here? It works grammatically, but...ew....)

I'm afraid of flying. (Yeah yeah. Laugh away. Whatever.) But, here's the thing. If there's even the slightest chance the plane is going down, I will be the first person to go into shock and ignore my surroundings. I start going into shock when there's turbulence. Of course I'm going to panic when the lawn mower starts backing into me and of course I'm going to lose all sense of what's happening.

I may be able to fight the zombies, but if there's an earthquake or tornado, my name is going to be on death certificate number one.

For what it's worth, Groom is so happy I'm on this "get some form of activity every day" kick he may not mind that I nearly sliced the Internet cable in half. My new life plan means I plan my day according to what the weather's doing, how long it might take me to mow the lawn or move the bricks from our fallen chimney, and how long it will take me to do my regular work. (Yes! I work from home, but I do actually work for money! Yes.)

He'd rather watch me go through this physical experiment...I change...than have to deal with the lawn himself or pay someone else to mow it. I know paying someone to do your gardening or clean your house shows some form of financial success, but it makes me (and him, I suspect) feel like a failure. If I'm paying someone to do that work, it means I'm working all the time in order to get ahead or I'm rich enough to pay someone else and I'm just a lazy shit sack.

yea, i can't work that machine...
I say this, of course, as I listen to the hammering sounds of the guy we paid to frame out new doors for our remodeled kitchen. That officially makes me a lazy and hypocritical shit sack. Well, actually, maybe not. He has the expertise and know-how, so we're really paying him for his brains and talent--and there's a lot of talent there. Seems to me, a contractor has to act as a designer, a craftsman, a mind reader, and a marriage counselor.

Okay. So. Yes. When he's doing his trade, we're fine. When he's hauling trash to the dump, we're lazy shit sacks. Got it.

I really should run in there and ask if he needs help.

He doesn't.

On another note, I realize that working to fit in some form of activity each day is a luxury. I know this. Listening to someone work eight hours a day to make our kitchen some sort of dream room while I sit at the computer writing this silly blog and writing PR pap about marinas and boating makes me super aware of this. People who haul bricks all day, every day...they don't need to "find some form of activity" every day.

...or figure out these dimensions
The folks who work in a boatyard or install custom cabinets? They can't just take a day off because their shoulders are a little achy and, since most of them are sole proprietors, they don't have health insurance for physical therapy. I can afford to see a doctor and then take time off from work to attend physical therapy sessions when my lower back is a little sore from sitting on my ass all day, but the guy who shoots a nail into his leg actually has to work more hours to pay for his one visit to the ER.

When my dad was in the cancer ward, hooked up to hoses and tubes and needles, and assessing all the treatment and care he was receiving, he asked, "What do people who have no health insurance do?" I don't want to know the answer to that.

My dad definitely paid someone to mow the lawn when I was a kid, but I don't think it made him feel successful. I think it made him realize he was stuck with a youngest daughter who would eventually have to find ways to work physical activity into her lazy shit sack days.


  1. I can see the mower incident (qualifies as incident, right?) blow by blow -- your description is really funny. In fact, I will keep replaying it a la Kerri Strug ankle break but without the leotard. No one over 17 should wear a leotard. Ever. x

  2. I'm so glad you liked it Erika. I wasn't sure whether it translated well. I wish someone had been there to laugh with me, but then that would have been awkward because I was in my mowing leotard.