Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It's All Exercise
Sitting in a lawn chair sipping sweet tea is not my thing; can’t do it if I tried. The only time I could do that was 25 years ago when I sunbathed. Even then, I was “doing” something. Basically, I am not a sitter. It’s not comfortable. In a meeting room full of people, I move and reposition at least 3 times as much as anyone else. No, I’m not hyperactive; don’t have nervous leg syndrome or any other syndrome. I am just not a sitter. My point is that I am active by choice. My second point is, not everyone understands that. My farmer neighbors are a good example of that. Granted, if I owned/financed the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment that they did, I may also find myself with their opinions, but they are not seeing me. What they are seeing is a walk-behind mower being walked behind, on an acreage. That just does NOT fit with their image of what is acceptable, work-wise. That’s just too much work. I have been personally informed, face to face, that I needed a riding lawnmower. I have heard through the grape vine that so-and-so said to tell me I need a riding lawnmower. And just last week, whilst I was walking behind my mower, a neighbor I had not yet met, stopped by to tell me he had a riding lawnmower for sale and thought I would want to buy it. He didn’t really see “me” when he drove up and I am not convinced he yet understood who I was when he left.
What he said was, ”When I drove by and saw you pushing that mower, I just had to stop”. For one thing, since this was the second neighbor in two weeks who just happened to stop by when I was mowing, I decided I needed to dress better and ditch the bandana head band. I tried to educate this young farmer in the ways of this 50-something wanna be. “Young man”, I said (not really) “This is my workout of choice. This is my exercise. I like to mow. I look forward to mowing. It’s what I do and it is so much better than walking on a treadmill at the YMCA.” The YMCA part must have turned on a light switch because he agreed that what I was doing was probably cheaper than a Y membership. I agreed that it took more time than a riding lawnmower, but I made the time for it. I told him it was self-propelled and all I really did was walk. And, as it just happened to be a beautiful evening, we both agreed that it was actually a perfect night for mowing. I thanked him for stopping by and just to be polite, asked all about his mower and told him I would think about it.
I wondered, as he drove away, if he yet saw me. I am thinking not. I wonder if I would have mentioned that I don’t have the money to buy it, the mechanical knowledge to fix it when it broke down or the pick-up to haul it in to get it repaired, if he would have grasped that more readily. I think not. I bet he would have thought, like I imagine the rest of the big farming neighbors do “ Then what are you doing here?”
That’s a fair question. I have dared asked it to myself on my worst days. Most days I can’t really answer it rationally. All I know is I am here and whether or not I am understood has nothing to do with my success or failure. I will do what it takes to hold on. I will do what I can with what I have. I will use my experience, my gut, my stubbornness and the best pair of blinders I have to keep it together and keep going for as long as I can.
I almost shook my head, as I started up my walk-behind mower again and waved him off. If he only knew that this was one of the easiest of the things I do the hard way, just to make this place work.