I backed Her SUV up the driveway, opened the back and lifted the lawnmower out. As I was heading toward the front door to knock, the garage door started opening. My buddy was standing there waiting, grinning, holding a beer. Of course he’d already prepared a spot on a meticulously prepared table in the middle of his absurdly well-organized garage for my dreadfully neglected mower. He’d volunteered to show me how to tune up a lawnmower. When I asked my buddies where they take their mowers for service, a couple of them started muttering and averting their eyes, and one said, “bring it over, I’ll show you how to do it.”
His own mower, obviously older, was in pristine condition. I could’ve carved a turkey with the blade on it, and eaten the meal off the mower’s deck. It was in such good shape I’m a little surprised he hadn’t applied for Collector’s plates for it. It’s condition offended me a little to be honest. It thought it was so much better than me.
I gained some respect for my mower that day. I mean, it did a pretty good job mowing the lawn considering the tar-colored oatmeal it’s oil resembled, and an air filter that breathed about as well as a block of wood. And that doesn’t begin to compare to the horror that it’s blade had become. Mowing by swinging an aluminum bat would’ve been almost as efficient.
But I was shown, with great patience and benevolence, how to get my lawnmower back into shape. We changed the blade, the air filter, the oil, and the spark plug. We cleaned it’s parts and put it back together. I learned about oxygenated gas, carburetors, spark plug gaps, and idling speeds (though I’m still only half convinced he wasn’t screwing with me when he talked about some of this stuff). And by learned I mean that while he said words, my face was pointed toward his face and I recognized his words as English.
I now feel somewhat confident that I can endeavor to maintain at least that one piece of equipment. And I feel equally confident that when I screw it up, which I obviously will, that I know where to take it. Though next time, I’ll probably have to provide the beer.
So I don’t know shit about lawnmowers. Big deal. I can do some other stuff. I make stuff. Food, art, sentences. Today, I think I’m going to make some Salsa Macha. Salsa Macha is the chunky peanut butter of infused oils. It’s one of my favorite condiments, and it’s not too tough. A few ounces of dried chiles of your choosing. I prefer Ancho, Arbol, Chipotle, and Guajillo. Stem and seed them, and toast them in a dry skillet. Then a little bit of sesame seeds and crushed nuts. A dash of salt and vinegar. Then some olive oil. Put it in a blender. Easy-peasy. The ratios depend on what I want it to look and taste like.
So I’m going to make that today. Then I’ll jar it up and take some to friends. My first stop will be my buddy’s house, to thank him for helping me with my mower. I hope he’s in his garage though. I’d love to wave a jar in front of his stupid mower while giving it the finger. It thinks it’s so great.