My husband bought me a new lawn mower today and somehow this made me happy. It is shiny and red and I am thinking of buying flame stickers for it.
My neighbor in kindergarten will be so jealous.
* * *
When I was 18 years old and a freshman in college I called one of my very best friends from high school. She wasn’t going to go to college. She was staying back home in Tampa and working. She had just moved in with her boyfriend and she told me this long story about shopping for barstools. I thought it was the most boring conversation I had ever been a party to. I could not fathom that anybody – let alone somebody who had seemed so much like me – could care so deeply about something as mind-numbing as barstools.
I wanted to talk about parties and bands and clubs and videos. I cared about who had a new boyfriend and what she was reading and listening to. I was 18 and the world was my oyster. I was invincible. I had new friends and interesting classes. I cared about new ideas and living away from my parents. I cared about politics and culture. She cared about barstools.
I could not relate to her in any way that mattered to either of us.
* * *
I was probably 36 years old the first time I really mowed a lawn. I like it because it feels like exercise and getting something done at the same time. Plus I like mowing over toys that people leave in my yard. There is something freeing about that kind of simple destruction.
My favorite part about mowing is that I can listen to my iPod on shuffle in private. I don’t have to hear “This song sucks, Mom.” or “Really? Dokken?”
I killed my old lawn mower this morning. I don’t think I did anything particularly bad to it, its time was just up. We bought that lawn mower when we bought our first house in 2001. I never expected to get 10 years out of the second-cheapest lawnmower Sears had to offer, but that is what we got and I feel pretty good about it.
I was very excited today when Gabe brought me the clean new lawn mower. It started the first time I pulled the cord. I used to have to fight with the old one. I always chalked it up to being a lefty and kind of weak, but it turns out that I am awesome and it was the mower that sucked.
When I came in he asked me how it went. I said, “It turns like a dream.”
* * *
Today a song came on my iPod that I hadn’t really listened to since 1994. It was one of those situations where I could feel my old feeling so intensely that I looked around my yard surprised to be who and where I am.
I’m not sure if this is what I expected my life to be like or not. I don’t think I thought I would be mowing my lawn. I certainly never foresaw writing essays about lawn mowers, but my life is good. I am actually comfortable approaching 40. I think I am where I want to be and I am moving quickly in a direction that is exciting. I don’t really care that much about parties anymore, but I am still open to new ideas and experiences and music. And I think that almost 20 years later I am finally interested in barstools. Sort of. Well, maybe not barstools, but I like things that I would have found boring as hell back when I was in college – like SEO, or making a really good meatloaf or this.