I was watching TV tonight when I saw a commercial that sparked a memory: A woman was tooling around her lawn on a mower, whistling and looking generally happy and carefree.
When I lived in New York, we had a really big backyard. A big backyard full of lawn. Beautiful, but a lot to mow and it was my job to mow it for a number of years. We had a self-propelled lawnmower but not a riding mower; the lawn was big but not quite big enough to justify that expense. It was a job I didn't particularly enjoy but I tried to make the best of it. (Okay, I bitched and moaned about it generally, but in the end I got it done before the grass was high enough to lose the dog in it.)
One day while out mowing, with the motor roaring and making such a racket, I figured I'd sing to distract and entertain myself, seeing as how no one could possibly hear me over the mower. Right? (Ah, the naiveté of youth.) So I was singing my heart out, throwing in a little opera just for fun. Finally, sweating and singing my way through it, I finished and went in the house for a drink of something cold. I told my mom I was done, and that I'd been singing while I did it.
She hesitated and said, "I know. I could hear you. Loud and clear." (Read: I could hear your caterwauling and so could the neighbors.)
This would be the time to point out that I really can't sing. And I totally can't sing opera. At all.
Yeah, that was mortifying.
I think I was able to convince her that it was probably time for my brother to take over that task right around the point in time.