sigh. I close my eyes hoping the apparition will disappear.
This happens all the time. ALL-THE-TIME. Best case scenario: he is probably going to ask if I want to hire him; worst case scenario I will have to hear comments about how I have not only single handedly inverted the natural order but obviously castrated my husband too because no real man would ever allow a woman to do his yard work.
“You doing this by yourself?” he asks.
Translation: “Raking leaves is as mentally taxing as trying to disarm a bomb with three seconds left on the timer in the middle of a kindergarten class.” Or in some dialects, “Raking leaves is as physically challenging as lifting elephants. For safety’s sake, get a spotter! Preferably me but in a pinch you could at least use the husband you must have horribly maimed.”
I have had this conversation so many times that I actually have a standard answer which goes something like, “Yes and I sure do love doing yard work. Fresh air, exercise … “
Yard work not a chore? Hmmm. This throws him off from pitching his services so he stands around for awhile. Thinking.
I continue raking the leaves and hope he has enough social skills to get back into his truck and go away.
Instead he decides to make another awkward obvious observation. “You’ve got a lot of pecans I see.”
“Yeah, sure do.”
“I got a buddy. Gets 40 cents a pound for them.”
He takes one from the closest tree, opens it and eats the nut. Picks up a couple more from the ground.
I stop raking. What is he talking about? Does he want me to pay him to pick up my pecan nuts? Is he saying he will pay me 40 cents a pound for pecans that sell for $4.99 at the grocery store? Why is he still here?
“What are you doing?” he asks again.
And now I am annoyed. Because clues: rake, wheelbarrow, pile of leaves …
He puts the pecans he has picked up into a tiny pile. “Oh, you sure -do- have a lot of pecans. You doing this by yourself?” He asks yet again but this time his tone is incredulous.
Even though I’ve been given multiple chances, I continue to fail to deliver my lines correctly. In response to his prompt I -guess – I was supposed to say, “Praise be! You have arrived just in time, Sir Knight. I wonder if I might prevail upon your gentle nature to please rescue this poor damsel in distress from the odious task of raking up dry leaves on this blissfully warm sunny day?”
But because I do not play nicely I say, “Yep and I sure do love doing yard work.”
He stands around for another couple minutes. I wonder a bit at why he asked if I was alone. I am not afraid. I know kung fu. I could easily turn my favourite rake into a lethal weapon. Even so I take the non-violent path and just quietly continue to rake up the leaves. Eventually, the guy twigs to the fact that all his worst imaginings are probably true. I am not a nice girl. He gets back into his truck and goes away.
And darned if I don’t feel guilty for not helping him escape the awkward situation. Which I realize is a little messed up since it was he who decided to invade my space and time.
Honestly, does this sort of thing happen to other women when they try to do yard work? Maybe I just have some kind of aura of helplessness …