Thursday, January 02, 2014

Linus Van Pelt had it right, second edition

It seems like just yesterday, I was posting about how right our little Peanuts buddy Linus Van Pelt was when he said “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.”

Since that post was posted, there have no further episodes of anyone leaving a bag o’ dog poop at the foot of my stairs. (I did see one nicely bagged on Charles Street between two store fronts. As was the case with the gift left out front of our house, there was a trash barrel just a few feet away. What is wrong with people?)

Did I just ask, however parenthetically, what is wrong with people?

Well, let me ask it once again, this time in reference to snow shoveling.

On December 15th, we had reasonably good sized – 8 inches or so -  snow storm. Followed by another one – 6-ish inches -  two days later.

We now have a pretty good shoveling system for our condo, i.e., someone other than me is doing the shoveling.

But I do keep my shovel in, sometimes doing the first wave out front before the shoveling guy – who is quite reliable, I will say – comes by.

Even though our guy does the first clearing, I also do regular touch ups on keeping the storm drain and corner clear, as every time the plow comes by, the corner and storm drain get re-plowed in. And the storm drain and corner are both subject to freeze-thaw problems.

There is nothing I hate more than getting to the corner – pick a corner, any corner – and finding that it’s impassable, due either to the fact that no one shoveled it out to begin with and it’s thus a mound of hardened, crusty, yuck; or no one’s cleared the drain, so there’s an over-the-boot-top deep pool of 33 degree slushy water that’s big enough to float a boat in.

I really don’t mind keeping the corner and drain clear. It’s a win-win: I get to be a good neighbor while acting completely in my own self-interest.

That said, it wouldn’t kill someone else on this half of the block to pitch in on occasion. Here I will except my neighbor Dick, who was my drain-clearing compadre for many years, but, now that he’s in his 80’s, has pretty much given it up.

I must acknowledge that a couple of years ago, when I was out there with my ice-chopper, a man heading to a black-tie event handed me his patent-leather evening shoes to hold, and chopped away until the ice was gone and the drain free and clear.

But what do I make of the neighbor, who -  while not that much younger than I, does have three early-teen perfectly healthy kids who I’ve yet to see heft a shovel – just the other day, when he saw me clearing the drain told me to keep up the good work.

When I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t want to be doing it when I hit seventy, he assured me it was good for my health.

Well, what could I expect from the fellow who, a couple of years ago, told me that he wasn’t going to shovel in front of his house because it’s easier to walk on crusty snow than it is to walk on slick brick.

I pointed out to him that within hours the crusty snow would turn to hip-breaking ice.

That had no initial impact, but it must have sunk in, because he now shovels his frontage.

Of course, as is always the case, there is one house per block that doesn’t shovel their walk. So you end up walking halfway up the block, only to come to a twenty-foot patch that’s covered with hip-breaking ice.

Even worse than the civilians who don’t shovel, are the merchants who just shovel in front of their door, but not the full walk in front of their store. And, it goes without saying, not their corner or local storm drain.

Civilian or merchant, what are people thinking when they don’t shovel? That spring’s just around the corner?

I just plain do not get it.

I’m thinking of printing up some notes to slip under doors, prevailing upon the occupants to shovel it up, or at least throw down some Ice Melt.

This could be a very long winter…

Once again, I am forced to state that, while I love mankind, there are certainly some people I can’t stand.

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