In the very beginning there was 1Man, 1Mower, 1Customer, 1Yard, 1Day at a time.
“I am so glad you added us to your list!” she said.
“You’re welcome. Thank you for asking me,” I replied. “It’s great work.”
Inside I slough it off; people say a-lotta stuff, there’re so many providers, price is key, and, well, really some experiences teach to discount compliments. Yes, I like compliments. But part of my lawn and garden care experience is to surrender to the labor and the customer. I crowd out my inhibiting feelings and thoughts. Jodi’s compliment rolls off. I get on with the work I’m given to do. And we had a great season and, in the end, she was thrilled, continued to tell me, and we cultivated a satisfying working relation. I enjoy people telling me they like, and are thankful for, my effort. The labor is honest, I see results, the money is small but important, and I’m fed by the thanks.
The next spring husband Pat made arrangements. Later Jodi said, “I’m so glad you’re keeping us on your list!” My list?
Yes I’d list customers, one by one, over time, just so I could see and recall who, what, when, where, or why I’d worked. It’s an IRS record thing, each lawn and customer is my effort, my labor. Doing the labor well was another goal, being occupied, earning odd-job income, helping others, not “your list” morphing into the who, what, when, where, or why I’d worked “my list.” In the 2011 season this 1Man/1Mower had 31 customers. 31 was a count, an achievement, a boast of volume. List? I’d never thought of customers as my “list.”
My light bulb comes on. OMG, I have a list. And logical assessments and judgments follow in. I don’t like her. Who is he? What does she do? Who does he know? How did you learn about me? I know them? How much does she pay? For that yard! It’s an obstacle course. He’s slow pay. She forgets pay. He pays ahead, for a month! She adds tasks on at the end. He interrupts. They’re clockwork. She’s rude. He give’s tomatoes: yum, yum! She puts up privacy fence; doubles effort. She gives cuttings as thanks, grimaces when I charge for her add-ons. They have a beautiful garden. He pleads. She’s complains. He argues $5. She expects me to keep her schedule. He’s a sweetheart. Her yard is a hill. He’s fussy. She’s a joy. He’s indifferent. Her yard is full of tree roots. His yard originates my repairs. She tips. His yard is poison ivy. She’s cheap. He’s an old man. She doesn’t notice.