Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mowers as Metaphors

I realised two days ago that my relationship with my motor mower parallels that with my wife.

I've written about my mower previously but have written very little about my wife.

I bought a new mower about three years ago after my previous mower and I had come to an impasse in our relationship. She (I shall give her the feminine gender for no particular reason) had reached the point where getting her started required a lot more coaxing than I was prepared to do. So, like any normal middle aged man with an identity crisis, I decided to trade her in for a new model. I did my research and compared performance, styling and cost and eventually drove across to the other side of the city to pick up my new 'Victa'. It didn't have a tried and true Briggs and Stratton motor but an Italian engine - a Takumsi. It was on special and I figured that a new motor mower is a new motor mower and hell, what could go wrong.

Well as it turned out my new mower had a personality - don't you hate that. I wanted a compliant workhorse who would do my bidding, no questions asked and with no hesitation. All went well for the first few months. It must have been a wet year and she got a regular outing. We were getting on fine. Then over winter she sat and, well, maybe she felt neglected because come spring her tone had changed. I did everything the same. Same petrol, same oil, same foreplay but no response. I swear I sometimes spent two maybe three days sweating and swearing until finally I would give up and rinse the air filter and replace it afresh. Every time I did this she started the first time. But every time it came to the nest mowing weekend I refused to accept that this was my fate. I wanted a mower that would start first pull of the start cord without me having to meet her need for a sweet and clean air filter. Now you would think I would learn, but three years later Iwas still saying to myself (and my wife) 'just one more pull on this cord and....' I was a slow learner.

Until last weekend. For the first timeI finally accepted who was in charge. I knew that if i changed the air filter before I pulled the start cord that it would start first time. I had been doing this for about the last three or four times but always reluctantly. This time I understood who was in charge. I relented. I bowed to the greater force. and it worked. we have reached an understanding.

And in my other life I have also accepted this. When my wife and I travel and whenever some fork in the road of decision making is upon us I simply say "yes boss" to her assertive suggestion that we do it her way. Of course the "yes boss" has a sting in the tail and it always pisses her off. She doesn't accept the implied "you always win" tone of my compliance, my henpecked husband routine. And so we begin another round of 'counting the times when you've/I've.............' Luckily we like each other and rather than end in tears and a new mower, it genreally ends in laughter. The laughter of the familiar. The game that never ends.

PS she does get her way more often than I do .... but don't tell her I said that.


Anonymous said...

That mower has you sussed! Lovely tale

Jennifer said...

The laughter in the familiar and the never ending game - it's what we're all looking for, no?

Loved this!

Stafford Ray said...

'getting her started required a lot more coaxing than I was prepared to do'
Oh really!
Ummm... when she chooses the road and she is wrong, do you get an apology or "You shoud have said something"? No reply needed. haha!