Snow day yesterday. Snow day TODAY. It’s like: And here’s your second hot-fudge sundae, ma’am. I had enough cabin fever that I just went out to re-shovel the sidewalk.
Now, I’ve gone on at tiresome length here before about how this is actually sort of a favorite chore for me, because, unlike writing or cleaning or child-rearing, it’s a job that gets done and — at least until the next snowfall — stays done. Because I like shoveling, I do it often. Because I do it often, I never have all that much to clear at one time. Because the labor is usually light and exercise is the best aid to thinking invented, I get a little wool-gathering done.
Today I contemplated libertarianism. Ann Arbor has a snow-clearing ordinance that is, I’m told, rigidly enforced. Fort Wayne has a snow-clearing ordinance that is never enforced. Guess which city has more pleasant winter walking conditions? Is man perfectable? I don’t think so. Hence, laws that dictate courtesy to your dog-walking neighbors. On the other hand, there’s talk of now requiring dog-walkers to carry “appropriate equipment” for poop removal, under penalty of law. As one who always does so, I do not fear this proposed ordinance. But I’ve never checked “The Turner Diaries” or “Fun Things to do With Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil” out of the library, either, and yet I fear the Patriot Act.
Just random thoughts while snow-shoveling. My neighbor came out and took a photograph of the piles left by the plow. As though anticipating I’d be wondering about this behavior, she came over to explain: See, she had devoted great time and effort last night to selective shoveling, making sure the snow pushed up by the plow remained in the street, and this morning the city had send a backhoe around to selectively dig out a few properties left dammed behind the plow-wash (if that isn’s a word, it should be), and clear the parts of the road the plow couldn’t reach. Said backhoe had picked up her carefully arranged piles and dumped them right on her park strip!
I admitted to being mystified by the offense here. She explained further that now the road salt in the snow would kill her grass.
“I gotta tell you,” I said. “I’ve never in my life seen a lawn that could be killed by winter,” thinking of the winter when the city of Fort Wayne failed to pick up the last pile of fall leaves from our park strip for weeks and weeks, and then it got snowed on and salted and otherwise abused, and then the idiot macho redneck across the street parked his idiot macho pickup truck with the right-side wheels over the curb on it, and yet — in the spring, tender green shoots.
I didn’t tell her all of this. But I should have, because she remained unsatisfied, and hmpfed back into her house, right past the Howard Dean sign in the front yard.
I went back to shoveling. I reflected that my idiot macho neighbor is smack in the target market for truck balls.
And now it’s 10:20 a.m., the sidewalk and drive are clear, I’ve gotten my cardio in for the day, along with my daily allotment of idle thought. Think I’ll take a shower.