Daily Dispatch, 8 Jan 2009

Thursday nights are date night with me and dubs. We haven’t really been out alone with just the two of us since well before Christmas, probably well before the whole Advent season. So it was good to resume date night tonight. 

We met up at Johnny D’s and I got there early for a change, and so I got a Harpoon IPA and chatted with Willie. Willie used to be a barista at the Someday Café. Actually, he’s also a barrister (and that was mostly what we chatted about). I’ve probably blathered about Willie and the Someday enough in previous years. But Willie’s got a lot going on.

After dinner, after we walked home, I checked the sidewalk around the house. We’ve had 3 or 4 big snowstorms in the last 4 weeks (depending on if you count the one that lasted 3 days as one storm or two). And the usual lovely mix of snow that changes to rain that makes a nice couple of inches of slush that will refreeze if you don’t deal with it.

I’ve been more diligent about making sure the sidewalk is clear and not icy in the mornings lately for the kiddos walking to the school that’s down the street from us. Maybe I’ve gotten more responsible with age. Or maybe I feel the stern disapproval of the crossing guard (who leaves the engine in his Lincoln running from about 7am – 8:20am, and sits inside it to warm up when there are no kids comming). Or if I’ve been living next door to our snow-removal obsessed neighbor G— too long. Whatever the reason, I’m less inclined to just let nature take it’s course (“it’ll melt in a few hours anyway!”) and have been out there with shovel, salt, and sand before I shower in the morning. I plot strategies: I wait to shovel until the exact moment at which the snow changes to rain, so that I don’t waste my time shoveling before all the snow is down, but while it’s still light snow, and before it has a chance to re-freeze. I take a weird glee if I can get my sidewalk clearer than G—, or sooner than G—. It kills me a little when he gets the jump on me because I can’t start until I get home from work (he’s retired).

Anyway, after we walked home tonight, Terri went inside, and I stayed out to check the sidewalk. There were a couple of patches of black ice, so I put down some salt and walked across the street to refill our sand bucket from the nice big municipal drum that the City of Somerville puts out at intersections.

“It’ll be five dollahs for that sand!” a guy who’s stopped at the intersection in his jeep yells to me. And then he starts to giggle uncontrollably, as does his girlfriend in the passenger seat.

“Hey, I’m doing a public service here” I say.

“At least our city can still afford sand!” he says, as the light changes green. He gives me kind of a thumbs up, and the laughing couple drives away.

That’s the thing. People say that it’s the harsh climate here in the Northeast that makes everybody so grumpy and on edge. But my experience is the opposite. It’s only when the weather is bad that people are most civil. The first big snowfall of the year, you walk down the street, and everybody you walk past actually looks you in the eye. They even say “hi”. Or if they’re chatty, they’ll say “this is something, huh?”.

“Feeding the chickens again?” the crossing guard asked me this morning, as I was sowing salt on some ice.

And heaven knows, if it weren’t for chatter about snow removal, about comparing notes on what kind of rock salt works best or a new kind of silicon spray that you put on the auger of your snowblower to deal with the heavy snow, G— and I would probably have nothing to talk about.

One thought on “Daily Dispatch, 8 Jan 2009”

  1. Ain’t no doubt – snowstorms are when you get to meet your neighbors. Everyone’s out at the same time (or near enough). It isn’t like lawn care, which might cluster in the noonish-Saturday sorta timeslot but which you can do as seems best to you. The storm ends and duty calls.

    The trick out here is the thrice weekly Alberta clipper that drops a very fluffy .75 – 1.5 inches. Not really enough to shovel, but it will pack and get slick, and brother the melt don’t come until March, and that only if you’ve been living clean. How civic are you? Will you pop out of the car after a nasty commute, grab hold of the shovel or pushbroom and clean that up? And the backside of a clipper is *cold* my sisters, even by the mad standards of the Cities Twin. This is the strop that sharpens the razor of Minnesota Nice

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