One of Hubby's friends asked him a while back if I were scared to stay alone when he's gone on golf trips. Hubby replied, "She's not afraid of anything."
He's wrong about that, of course, because I've documented here before that I'm deathly afraid of snakes. And mice.
I also have what I'm pretty sure is an irrational fear of riding lawnmowers.
I don't mean that I have nightmares about being abducted by aliens riding lawnmowers, and I don't have to alter my path if I see someone out mowing his lawn, but I have a fear of OPERATING them.
I can drive our 30' motorhome, I almost never clench my jaws when riding my motorcycle anymore, but I almost seize up when faced with the prospect of using a riding lawnmower.
Give me a push mower any old day. I will happily mow both our front and back yards with a push mower, but don't make me use the riding mower. Well, perhaps not HAPPILY, but still....
Today Hubby got the idea that we could halve the job of mowing both our yard and that of his mother if we both participated. The catch was that I had to use his mother's riding mower to do her yard.
His mother is VERY picky about how her grass is cut. Why not let me do ours, where I represent 50% of the household population? She only stopped mowing her own yard two years ago at the age of 78. Even when she couldn't crank the pull-type mower, she still insisted on mowing her own grass. And Hubby wanted me to do it. On her mower.
It didn't help that I am completely unfamiliar with her mower. They aren't like cars; some of the controls are quite different from model to model. At least from ours to hers.
He tried to show me what to do, but my fear wouldn't allow me to concentrate. "Put your foot here, engage the blade, then put your foot here....." What? Did he say....? What DID he say? Put my foot WHERE?
How do I stop?
Where is reverse?
I made two passes under Hubby's watchful eye, then I begged ... BEGGED ... to use the push mower. I didn't care if it took all day, I did NOT want to use that riding mower. He was unrelenting.
It's not that I'm afraid of running into something (even if I DON'T know how to stop). I'm mostly afraid that I'll run OVER something I'm not supposed to, and I'll tear up the mower. I HATE that sound that I've run over a stick or a pine cone, no matter how small. I close my eyes and draw up, afraid that I've done irreparable damage.
I'm pretty sure I also don't mow properly. I start off following a plan, rectangular and regular. Before long, though, I'm wandering off ... oh, there's a patch over there ... did I get around that tree? ... and the pattern is history. I guess it doesn't matter as long as it all gets done, but I must look like a drunk wandering around the yard on a riding mower willy-nilly.
While I was mowing today, teeth clenched and knuckles white on the steering wheel, I even found myself looking forward to school starting back, when I won't be expected to help with the mowing.
Now that's just sad.