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I saw the most amazing thing on the way to work this morning: a man driving a riding mower up a ridiculously steep hill. In the rain. I saw the name on the side of the mower, and I knew what was going on.

In civilized parts of the world, people have the sense to come in out of the rain, and they most certainly do not mow their lawns in the rain. Under no circumstances would they ever consider mowing a wet, steep, grass covered, hillside with any kind of device, let alone a riding mower. In Seattle, however, we don't have those kinds of options. If we waited to mow until it wasn't raining and the grass was dry, the grass would be 10 feet tall. Likewise, there are hills all over the place.

The hill that I saw being mowed this morning was in Crystal Springs Park. There are tennis courts on a small, flat bit, and then the hill drops away so sharply that a person could not walk up it without a rope. If your return volley goes over the fence, you are not getting that ball back. Ever. Anyway, there, in the rain, on the side of this steep hill covered with slick, wet grass, was a man driving a riding mower straight up. He made it look effortless. At the top he turned slightly to avoid high-centering, and continued on his way as easy as you please. Why didn't he just topple backwards? How in the heck did that mower climb that hill? My old Land Rover was practically a mountain goat, and it could not have made it up that incline. I just made out the name on the side of the mower: Kubota.

I've seen Kubota's at the The Fair, and I have heard the stories, but now I am a believer. They make four wheel drive mowers and tractors, and from what I saw this morning, I think that they can be summed up in one word: badass. I am not kidding. I could sell tickets to watch that guy drive that mower up the hill. Admiring guys (because women have better sense than to stand in the rain and watch a guy drive a mower up a hill) would murmur and give a little golf clap with every lap.

One thing did occur to me, though - the first time that the guy drove the mower up the hill, how did he know that he could do it? Was it luck? Does he even know how amazing that is? Maybe he carefully calculated the center of gravity, coefficient of friction, torque, and other factors and concluded that it was well within operating parameters? Lucky moron, or genius? That is a fine line that all men walk. Maybe he was the unwitting victim of a cruel practical joke - the other lawn guys told him to do it and then they were all surprised when it worked? However it happened, the first guy to sit on that mower and drive it straight up that hill had giant, brass, cahones - or he was just stupid. Either way - amazing.


Unknown said…
I'm thinking of getting a used Kubota from your suggestion and this blog post. They're pricey but it's gotta be better than how my Scotts mower leaves burnout marks in the muddy grass after it rains. Four wheel drive! Oh ya!

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