With great expertise, I swirled my wet mop in big loopy figure eight’s across the kitchen floor. The sticky Kool Aid spot next to the refrigerator and the red spaghetti sauce speckles in front of the sink faded and disappeared. Leaning on my mop handle I inspected my work feeling like the star of a Lysol commercial.
Arnie stepped into the entryway when I was rinsing out the mop. He said, “I’ve finished mowing the lawn, but didn’t get around to using the weed whip. Right now it’s time for me to leave for my hair cut appointment.” Before the door completely closed behind him, it opened again. Leaning through the opening he zinged me with a pointed afterthought, “I left the weed whip leaning against the wall in the garage.”
I groaned. The unspoken inference was that I should weed whip for him. Doing the job wasn’t a problem…I loved to weed whip…what I dreaded was starting the gadget’s small engine. Moments later I stood in the garage psyching myself up for the ordeal ahead. I told myself that if I couldn’t get it started, that I could walk away from it.
From past experience with this sort of thing though, I knew that I was in a do or die situation. Even if it took blood, sweat, and tears, I would keep working until I got it started. Tightly clutching the weed whip with my left hand, I grasped the cord handle with my right. Pulling mightily, the biceps in that arm strained uncomfortably, then immediately went limp with exhaustion.
Huffing impatiently, I got a better grasp and pulled again. My wimpy biceps screamed. Whatever muscles I used working as a certified nursing assistant at the hospital sure weren’t the ones I was using right now! Fiery determination prompted another two quick pulls on the cord. The only response from the engine was a weak, anemic cough.
I frowned. My vow to dispassionately quit after two or three pulls evaporated, just as I knew it would. This was out and out war! My pride of self-sufficiency was being called into question before a dumb, inanimate object invented by a man. There was no doubt in my mind; a MAN had invented the weed whip. To easily start it required bullish strength, and arms as long as an ape’s!
By my twentieth pull on the starter cord, sweat trickled down the middle of my back. My fingers on the left hand ached from the unrelenting tight grip I had on the handle. My arm muscles felt like hot rubber bands. I muttered under my breath about the person who designed the pull cord method of starting a gasoline engine. “He must have been the devil’s favorite brother-in-law!”
Teasing me, prompting me to pull again and again, were the coughing snorts, starts, and stops of the engine. Finally, totally against its will, the engine turned fully over and roared into life. I tipped my head back and hooted victoriously.
“Buzzz!” The lash whipped around and around, hungry for soft vegetation. To stabilize myself against the weight of the weed whip and its vibrations, I firmly planted my legs in a wide stance and fed it quack growing alongside the garage.
Before long I was splattered with green weed juice. Feeling like the Terminator, I warned the vegetation not to grow again or, “I’ll be baack!” I left a path of destruction around the house and flowerbeds. The hand-held bucking bronco was fun to use. “Buzz!” Unsightly weeds and tall unwanted grass were instantly beheaded.
When my job was finished, I turned off the small engine. Strangely unsteady, I crossed the yard and entered the house. While washing at the bathroom sink, I became aware of an uncontrollable palsy. That was odd!
My strange tremor was still with me as I set the table for supper. The forks clattered noisily against the plates as I tried to place them neatly side by side. I held my hands up and tried unsuccessful to make them stop shaking. My muscles seemed to have no control over their movement.
By the time my family got home for supper, the tremors were barely noticeable. Arnie sat down at the table and said, “The yard looks great, Kathy. Did you have any trouble starting the engine?”
I raised my right eyebrow and asked, “Trouble? What sort of trouble do you think I might have had?” A strange twitch developed in the corner of my left eye and the palsy returned to my hands.