Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Rain Mower

I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. I live in a nice neighbourhood but I have some odd neighbours.

Sometimes, I feel as though I’m acting like my grandmother because I like to stand at the window and watch what the neighbours are doing. It’s an inherited trait. My mother does it too. Whenever there’s any excitement or, even, something ‘different’ going on, we all go to the window and have a peer out to see what’s going on.

This morning, for example, I noticed the lady across the road was rearranging her rubbish bins. She was taking bags out of one dustbin and putting them in another. This may not seem too odd but she was doing it while the trash collectors were literally waiting to take them from her to empty. I couldn’t figure out why she was doing this. At first I thought she’d dropped something that she didn’t want to get thrown out with the trash but from my perspective, it simply looked like she was playing “Rearrange the Trash Bags.” What was even more strange is that in the end, the Rumpke dustman took both cans and emptied them into the back of the garbage truck which null and voided her rearranging.

I don’t know that lady very well. When I first moved in, she left me a note saying how she’d been friends with the old lady who sold me my house and that she’d love to meet me. We did finally meet when she came over and made a point of telling me how half the plants in my garden had been transplanted from hers. She was nice but aside from her taking me to her church once, she’s pretty much avoided me ever since. I think this may have to do with the fact that I came home one day shortly after the church outing and discovered a neighbour had kindly unlocked my front door to put a package from UPS inside for me. Since I don’t like the idea of strangers having a key to my house, I changed the lock. I think it was Trash Rearranging Lady. I probably offended her. I’m not terribly upset about it, honestly.

The other odd occurrence last night was Dog Whisperer. He truly baffled me.

You see, when I got home from work last night, I decided to take advantage of the fact it wasn’t raining in order to cut my lawn. Lately, it’s been raining a lot and my lawn had become very unruly. I managed to get my lawn mowed just as thunder began to rumble in the sky.

Just as I finished mowing and was pushing my lawnmower back into the shed, I heard a lawnmower start up next door. Dog Whisperer was mowing his front lawn.

Since it was clearly going to rain, I thought that it might have been wiser to wait but, well, sometimes, I guess the urge to mow the lawn is strong. I did have a rather silly minor moment of guilt in wondering if, in my efforts to make my front lawn look nice, I’d made his lawn look even longer and ugly and so he had to go even it up in order to make it match the cut of my grass. We do have a shared strip that runs between our houses. I cut one side, he cuts the other. It makes it pretty obvious when one lawn has been mowed and the other hasn’t.

Of course, I realized my guilt was rather silly since it wouldn’t be the first time our lawns didn’t match and, really, I’m quite sure it had nothing to do with his sudden urgency to mow.

I left him to it and decided to attempt to grill the steak for my tacos quickly before the rain started to come down. By this time, Dog Whisperer had moved to his back yard. I had just pulled the steak off the grill and was trying to lightly grill the tortillas before it started to pour. Quickly, I shut the grill off, sheltered my food and went inside.

Dog Whisperer continued to mow. As I sat down to eat my dinner, the rain started to really come down. And yet, I could still hear the thrum of the lawnmower in Dog Whisperer’s yard. He was determined to mow, no matter what.

As I continued to eat, the rain got harder. It was that really, really heavy type of rain that actually bounces up again after it hits the pavement because of the force at which it is hitting. It’s the type of rain that stings and soaks you in less than 10 seconds.

And yet….the mowing continued. I got up to make sure Dog Whisperer hadn’t had a horrible mowing accident in which he slipped on the wet grass and managed to mow himself in half. I realize that this is an impossibility because you need to be holding the bar thing on the handle to keep the mower going and as soon as you release it, the mower dies. However, I have a dark imagination and I was concerned anyway.

Nope. He was still upright and mowing. He was soaked to the skin. He was hunched over. The rain was coming down so hard it couldn’t have been easy to see and yet….he didn’t give up.

I did worry a little about his mower. I know they’re waterproof to some degree but when it’s raining that hard, surely the water can’t be good for it. Also, wet grass is hard to cut because it clings and the suction of the mulching function causes the grass to clog up. In addition, it was lightning. Mowing the grass in a thunderstorm didn’t strike me as…sensible, per se. Finally, wet grass is slippery and I was a wee bit concerned that he might slip and accidentally cut off his foot. Hey, that one could actually happen.

Wet grass or no, he kept going.

I should commend his determination. I mean, he’s not a quitter. It’s just that…well….truth be told, it seemed a little daft. I couldn’t figure out why he was still going. I understand wanting to finish something up but if it had been me, I would have stopped the mower and waited out the rain.

Well, actually, if it had been me, I wouldn’t have started mowing after it was clearly starting to storm. When I did mow my lawn, the clouds were starting to roll in but it was clear that I had enough time.

Yet even though the rain came down with solid force and the world was soaking wet, Dog Whisperer was the Little Mower that Could. He didn’t give up. He kept mowing. When he wheeled his mower into the shed, he was so wet, I knew he was squelching. He’d abandoned his white t-shirt mid-mow and was mowing bare chested. If it had been ridiculously hot and he wanted to cool down, it might have made sense but, alas, it was actually quite chilly with the rain.

Still, he got his lawn mown and I guess that was important to him. I did notice today that his diagonal lines weren’t quite as straight as usual and were even a little wavery in patches but I suppose when the rain is coming down so hard that you can’t see, that’s bound to happen.

I admit, I probably shouldn’t have been quite so nosy but I was both fascinated and surprised at his dedication to his mowing. I’m quite glad he didn’t get struck by lightning. I’m also glad he didn’t mow over his foot. I am, however, quite baffled about his lawn mowing obsession. Perhaps all will reveal itself in time. Maybe he’s having a garden party directly after work tonight and it was the only mowing time he had. Of course, after the rain stopped last night probably would have been smarter, but what do I know?

Ah well, I’m sure he has his reasons and I’m sure I’ll never learn them. I suppose I could ask but, well, that might reveal me to be a nosy neighbour. It’s one thing to be a nosy neighbour and another thing to have people know you’re one.

And I’d rather do my lurking in secret. You learn more about your neighbours that way. Or, at least, you can watch them do some odd things.

Happy Friday!

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