To the Landscaper, His Face Displaying Shock

Oh, you’ve never seen a woman in a stained shirt that’s stretched out so far you can see all the way down through her boobs and past her belly button and pants that might have, once upon a midnight scary, been called yoga pants but are now just faded, see-through, pilly sweats? Never seen someone with wild, watery eyes and a cough like a derailed freight train, her hair all piled up bouffanty with some growing-out bangs half pinned back with a scaly bobby pin? With a permanent shoulder hunch on the right side where she nurses her baby the most and a bit of a limp about the thigh where bouncing the baby on the yoga ball got a bit exuberant the other day?

I’ve got a right to some fresh air. I’ve got a right to come out on my porch and water my hanging basket. Or it will die and we are not in the business of killing at our house. We are in the business of keeping things alive.

You’re clipping the hedges. That’s great. You have a nice, clear cut job. Ha ha. You just get those clippers out and put on your headphones and off you go. Clipping. You smell like grass and leaves and dirt and sweat. I wish I smelled like those things. I should roll around in the clippings like some kind of crazy dog.

I smell like sweat too, but it’s not the good, honest labour-kind of sweat. I smell like I sometimes forget the deodorant, like sour milk, newborn scalp and toddler face. Newborn scalp smells pretty good. Toddler face smells like yogurt. Yogurt and tears and saliva and peanut butter. I smell like a hangover. I smell like I’ve been wearing the same clothes for weeks and sleeping in the backseat of a car while it drives north on a bumpy highway. I smell tired.

You have a coverall on, though, so maybe underneath you smell bad too. Or maybe you hate the smell of grass like I hate the smell of yogurt.

I’m trying to remember to stand up straight. I get these headaches from shoulder and neck tension and maintaining good posture is the best way to prevent them. When I see you and your colleagues – or other people in general – I am reminded that I am a human being and that other people can see me so I remember to stand up straight, pull my long crooked frame into a line “imagine you have a string pulling your head to the sky” and then, my ribcage all open, my bones crackling, I miss yoga. Or is it time I miss. If I had time for yoga would I do it or would I squander the time just staring at the sky, deep-breathing the air, enjoying the silence.

Do you ever have a day where you need to pause every half hour or so and remember to breathe? Or do you just cut the lawn, drink a coffee, trim the hedge, have some lunch, rake the leaves, get in your truck and go for a beer.

Maybe you love yoga. Maybe you’d kill to be a stay at home parent. Maybe you’re allergic to shrubbery or to the gasoline that powers the leaf blowers but you have to pay the rent somehow.

If you were reading this you might be thinking: if she has time to type she has time to shower. And you would be right.

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