My Story is funny :A few years back, I indulged her grass molesting fetish by buying a top of the line grass molester. A Briggs and Stratton Commercial, four-stroke mower, with extra wide cut, self-propelled commercial grade chipper chute and heavy-duty catcher. My beloved was delighted (a fact that left me somewhat bemused but satisfied). Of the many capital items that have been bought at her behest, none have been received more enthusiastically. It gets polished at the end of each excursion, serviced regularly (which is more than I do), tender words are murmured over it and it's every need is dutifully met (unlike mine). In short, she is a better wife to that machine than she is to me. In return, this lawnmower has behaved faultlessly. For the last five years or more, it has diligently digested every scrap of green scalp over which it has passed; roared enthusiastically into life at the first pull of its stout cord, idled like a purring kitten when unattended and travelled countless circuits of our lawns without stuttering or ejecting its spark plug in a fiery arc before expiring with a wheezing death rattle (which was the case with its predecessor).
This marvelous machine has afforded me many hours of relative peace, its steady drone drowning out the less tolerable drone of 'er indoors. In my eyes it is manna from Heaven. But last night, whilst quietly enjoying my favourite television programme, the one where a cheap and ordinary Japanese car gets driven round the same circuit for the hundredth time by some British racing ace I've never heard of, a minor miracle occurred—my wife started a conversation.
"Mower needs looking at. Wouldn't start at all. Wouldn't even make the noise like it's going to start."
I took a deep breath, tore my eyes away from the Cool Wall, and replied.
"Perhaps if you had told me while it was still daylight, I could have looked at it. I'll look tomorrow, my angel."
She gave me that look so familiar to all husbands, coupled with a 'huh' noise, which is guaranteed to loosen the sphincter of any married man, but for those who are not so afflicted, it is a half second expression of utter contempt for your spouse's unwillingness to leap from his chair and fulfill your every whim.
Dawn broke, wet and bluish grey, and the lawnmower sulked in the shed. The lawn, far too wet for mowing, waved its tender fronds in triumphant glee. Another day spared from the depredations of the all-controlling grim reaper.
"Are you going to look at the mower, or do I have to take it to be serviced?" demanded 'er indoors in a petulant tone. A tone which implied that not only could I forget any ideas I may have been entertaining about servicing her anytime soon, but that almost any man would do a better job than someone who was clearly incapable of fixing her infernal grass molester. But thanks to her beloved majesty Queen Liz II celebrating her official birthday on this date, I knew that the lawnmower man would not be at his shop and her threat was as hollow as the triumph I was feeling at having outwitted her.
"You can't use it today, so there's no hurry, is there?"
In the eighteen and three quarters years that we have been married, there is one thing that I should have learned. I may win the odd battle, but I may never win the war. For the next couple of hours, I was mercilessly tormented for my triumph. The vacuum cleaner clattered around my ankles, the kitchen worktop became an anvil for a myriad of mallet-shaped kitchenware and the usual frosty silence was supplanted by a cryogenic wave of nothingness. Finally, when I could take no more, and was on the verge of throwing one of her many plastic ornaments through the nearest window, I conceded. I pulled on my wellingtons and resigned myself to do battle with the offending mechanical herbivore.
I opened the shed to be confronted by my nemesis gleaming at me in the pale light of the bluish-grey sky. After a quick check of essential fluids and a pull of the starter cord it rattled briefly and then subsided back into lifelessness. I swear I almost caught it smirking. I cast my eye up to the throttle control on the handlebars. She'd left it closed. With a flick of my thumb, the lever slid past the full throttle mark to the point marked 'choke'. There was a satisfying click as the butterfly valve deep in the guts of the machine hit its stop. I eyed the machine malevolently, grasped the cord handle with one hand and steadied the mower with my foot. I resigned myself to a series of sweat-inducing exercises with little chance of success, just to clear the dampness from the fuel line, or to confirm her diagnosis.
As I pulled the cord for the first time with the throttle open, it coughed, hummed smoothly into life, and then stuttered on the rich mixture. I eased the throttle back to a slow speed and it idled at a steady hum, sweet as the day that it first massacred our lawn. Triumphantly I shut it down, wheeled it back into the shed, and savoured the upcoming exchange with the Light of my Life.
I did not have long to wait. Later in the afternoon, while I was contemplating whether to paste Miss Sultry September into the vacant space between Miss Athletic August and Miss Naughty November, or simply keep her in my sock drawer in the bedroom, an insistent knocking on the (locked) study door rudely interrupted my reverie. She needed the lawnmower looking at today. Her tone of voice was imperative, the grass was threatening to engulf Gotham City and only she could save it. I asked her to demonstrate the problem, patiently explaining that as I had looked at the mower and found it started first time without any drama, there could not conceivably be anything wrong with it.
"No," she replied, "if you've managed to fix it, that will do." Her accusing tone implied that she didn't believe I'd been anywhere near her beloved grass molester, so I gallantly suggested that I watch her start it, adding portentously: "I couldn't find anything wrong with the machine, you must have hit a spot of condensation in the fuel lines, dear."
"So it's my fault now is it?" came the rather testy reply. "Besides, she added, to reinforce the sneer of disdain curling her lower lip, "it's a complete waste of time, it's far too wet to mow the lawns today."
I muttered something dark about pestering me to fix things that would not require fixing if they were handled properly. She muttered something that I didn't bother listening to. The force with which her coffee cup banged down on the bench conveyed far more eloquently than any words that I was a b*****d for making the mower work just to humiliate her.