Over the course of our eight years together, I occasionally have had moments where Justin’s background (Wisconsin boy) and mine (suburban Chicago girl) bump into each other in the most surprising and hilarious ways. One such moment happened at a park in Henry County Georgia- a random stop we made in search of a playground on our way back from Florida last week. When we drove up the road to enter, there were two girls sitting at a folding table in the sun. I thought they were collecting cash for a car wash being held at the park or something. When we approached, one of the girls came up to the driver side window and I said, “What’s happening here?” She informed us about the “lawn mower races” going on today and that it was a $2 donation if we felt so inclined. I kind of mentally stumbled over the words “lawn mower races,” picturing, of course, sweaty tank-topped young men (like in the tractor chicken stand-off in Footloose) perched atop red or green low-powered machines racing pathetically around in circles at like 5 mph. I imagined my 3 year old could have lapped them on his tricycle. I shrugged thinking, I guess this is a Georgia thing.
We found 2 sweaty dollar bills and handed them over and she showed us where to park. We were the first car in the lot. As we got out and were walking over to the playground, I assumed Justin shared my awe and wonder at this wild excursion into Georgia culture. I giggled and said, “What in the hell is a lawn mower race?” And (this is where our differences elate me) he goes, “Seriously? You’ve never heard of lawn mower races?” To which I replied of course, “Seriously? You HAVE heard of lawn mower races?” Around this time, a loud rumble came from behind us and a go-cart looking thing comes racing across the parking lot. It looked a lot like well, a lawn mower, except it was low to the ground and traveling around 30mph. “There’s one now,” said Justin. “That’s no lawn mower!” I shouted over the rumble of its engine. It then became apparent that the term “lawn mower race” is highly misleading. This was a glorified go-cart with the body of a lawn mower. I said this to Justin and he says, “Well, yeah. But it’s still a lawn mower.” Go-cart. Lawn mower. Go-cart. Lawn mower.
We watched our boy play on the playground, changed our 6 month old’s poopy diaper, and headed back to the van without staying for the races. I wanted to stay and watch, but it was an hour before the races start and honestly, just hearing the existence of the phrase “lawn mower race” was enough foreign culture for me for the day.