As I was riding my bike up past Cottonwood Clinic yesterday, I came up on a woman who was mowing her yard. It was a beautiful day—for riding a bike and for mowing a yard—bright sunshine, slight breeze and pleasant temperature. For pure pleasure I’d choose riding a bike over mowing on such a day but when there are chores that must be done, having a day like that for their doing is a fine thing.
For her part on such a fine day, it appeared that she first noticed me when I was still a few hundred feet away. She’d already cut a few swaths alongside the road. When she saw me, she paused her zero turn mower for just a second or two and then resumed mowing. I nodded in greeting and continued riding forward.
When I was still several seconds away from being lined up with her mower, she stopped and shut off the blades. I waved in gratitude and she yelled over the noise of the engine, “Didn’t want this to be throwing anything in your direction,” and then she pointed down at the discharge chute. I grinned and nodded my thanks and gave her a thumbs up.
Even if she’d kept mowing, the odds of her mower actually hitting something and slinging it into me were pretty low. With the mowing she’d already done, the mower was sitting back at least fifty feet away from me. She could have kept mowing, I could have kept riding and we’d both most likely just continue on with our respective days. Really not much chance of anything unfortunate happening. But with her sitting still and the blades disengaged, those odds dropped to zero.
I suppose it was only a slight inconvenience for her but it sure made a big impression on me. A complete stranger protecting me from any unintended danger that might arise from what she was doing. It was a thoughtful act. You know, like waiting a few more seconds instead of pulling out in front of someone or deciding not to cut over into the next lane at the last second. Courtesy and consideration often act in collaboration with safety and security.
Whether we’re running a mower or running our mouths.