Another Page – Lawn mowers and Jimmy Stewart

When I bought my trailer, a gas-powered lawn mower was thrown into the chattels as part of the deal. Now, I haven’t run an actual mower since … well, in decades, because I’ve either lived in places where there wasn’t a lawn or lawn-mowing was taken care of by the landlord. And on Bequia where we have a much bigger lawn, I live with a property manager who hires Rasta gardeners to do the mowing for him.

So I decided, instead of struggling with this thing, I would purchase an old-fashioned push mower instead. Just like my grandfather used to use in Toronto. Besides giving me some much-needed exercise, it also makes very little noise, other than the “swoosh”ing sound of the blades as the mower is pushed forward.

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And this brings me to the real reason I wanted a push mower – to make a statement and counter the noise made by all my neighbours’ mowers surrounding me … What is it with men – and these are all men, I’ve found – and power tools that they feel the need to run them and make noise – constantly? Yes, I can understand the desire to make your space look nice, but there is a limit these men pass over every time, to the point where I’d swear I was living on Mustique or a golf course, the lawns are that carefully manicured. Every week. As soon as they arrive at the trailer. No matter what time that may be.

Plus, as soon as one finishes another pulls the cord on their mower. It’s as though they’re each thinking, “Hey! He’s mowing his lawn. I should mow mine,” but they never, ever get that same thought at the same time.

I used my new mower for the first time on Thursday morning (not too early, either) to mow my little piece of lawn, not too short a cut, and raked up all the clippings into a pile. Then I realized I was going to have to trim around the edges and next to the trailer and deck, so I hauled out the battery-operated trimmer that also came with the trailer. Same brand name as my new push mower. But the battery was dead, and it won’t hold a charge, even after having been plugged into the transformer for two days.

So it looks as though I’ll be reduced to trimming the old-fashioned way, using a pair of clippers I found in the shed. Later, maybe, when it’s not too hot.

I was quite chuffed with myself at having found a non-noisy way of dealing with cutting my own lawn and I had hoped my neighbours would now notice and congratulate me on being a tidy new member of the neighbourhood. That hasn’t happened yet.

What did happen, and this is where Jimmy Stewart comes into the story, is that I had settled down at about 6:30 on Friday evening and was about to watch Anatomy of a Murder, starring Jimmy Stewart and a great score performed by Duke Ellington (who plays a minor uncredited role as a piano player in a bar!) when I heard the unmistakable “Rrrrrrr!” of a lawn mower being fired up. One of my neighbours had just arrived and began tending to his own lawn. Which would not have been all that bad, but he continued on, mowing the lawn right next door to me, under my open windows. There was nothing I could do, not wanting to run out and shout at him to cease and desist, but turn off the movie and wait until he was finished. As I mentioned before, these lawns are small, so it shouldn’t have taken him long, but he made a second cursory pass, just to be sure, I guess, that he got every single blade of resistant grass.

Then he brought out the gas-powered edge trimmer.

So I closed all my windows and ate my dinner, fuming, while he very happily did what all men seem to enjoy doing – using power tools to make a lot of noise. I waited a few moments after he was finished before turning on the movie again and beginning at the beginning. Besides the great sound track, it was important to catch every piece of dialogue in this one. I’m glad I waited, because the movie was brilliant! (And I highly recommend watching it, if you haven’t seen it before. Or rewatching, if you have. Preferably without the accompanying “Rrrrrrr!” of power tools.)

And, as I’ve been writing this on Sunday morning, other neighbours have – you guessed it! – been mowing and trimming their lawns. I think I need to start handing out copies of my book to these people in the hope that they’ll find the read engrossing (or it puts them to sleep) so that they stop mowing for a while …

You are most welcome here! Enjoying the view with me from my trailer or verandah.
Susan

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