Neighborly goodness

The entire Southwestern Ohio/Northern Kentucky/Southeastern Indiana region got out of bed this morning, walked outside, and shook its collective fist at the sky. Unfortunately, in the 17.3 seconds the first was held aloft, 3 inches of snow fell on it while another 18 metric crap-tons fell on the surrounding area (regretfully, I can’t give you the technical definition of a metric crap-ton, but I do know that’s it’s more than the English equivalent, and also, it’s an effin’ lot).

As I’ve already waxed poetically on my general dislike of shoveling snow, I’ll spare you a review. To my original comments, though, I will add one thing: I’m not the type of guy that shovels a driveway 3 times over the course of a day as snow falls continually from the heavens. The act of bundling up like Ralphie’s little brother and spending an hour sweating, somehow, in the freezing cold is, as I’ve said, not one of my preferred recreational activities. I’ll be damned, therefore, if I’m going to do it four times to move the same 6 inches of snow, an inch and a half at a time. Yes, the one time I actually debase myself to move that 6 inches will, obviously, be more of a back-breaking struggle, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

Unfortunately, today was a problem. As I said above, 18 metric crap-tons, and still falling. There was so much already down this afternoon that I could not get my trusty Accord up the driveway. It, stopped, tires spinning helplessly, barely off the street, with the tail hanging over the sidewalk. Snow was going to continue falling, and for the first time ever in my adult life, there is a garage space for my car. Action would have to be taken; my trusty Accord was not going to be abandoned to a new life as an igloo.

Shortly before dinner, I stuffed myself into 9 layers of clothing (one for each circle of Dante’s Hell), put on the “only-for-winter-emergencies” survival coat, and traipsed out to rescue my car. For 20 minutes, I labored to clear a path from the warm, inviting garage door to my poor stationary Honda. Meanwhile, my neighbor across the street came out to clear his own driveway.

I say “clear” here because this particular neighbor is the guy in the neighborhood with all the very cool, very practical machines. You know the guy; 98% of all neighborhoods have one like him. He’s that Handy (note the capital ‘H’) guy. He shingled his own roof last year, built his own composite deck, and always has the right tool for the job. I, on the other hand, was using my pliers to hammer a machine screw into a wall stud last month, just so I’d have a place to hang a bike.

Well, not really, but you get the idea.

Anyway, the neighbor wheeled out his power snow-blower and went to work on his driveway as I worked to dig snow out from under my car. As he did so, I struggled to keep myself from peering across the street with the pathetic look of sad envy seen on empty-handed children everywhere having to pass a luscious, fruity snow-cone down the row at the circus to some more fortunate friend that apparently didn’t blow all their money on $20, already broken, over-sized sunglasses in the first 6.36 seconds of setting foot in the arena.

When I thought I had enough snow cleared away and made the first laughable attempt to release the Accord from its snowy bondage, I caught a dark form in the corner of my eye. Looking over my shoulder, I found him, Handy guy, with the snow-blower, working his way up my driveway. Within 10 minutes, my driveway was free of a majority of the offending frozen material, and my car was thawing the garage.

It is a happy thing when you experience that there are still decent folk in the world, willing to take pity on the poor sap across the street. I have neighbors like that, and it makes me very glad, especially because more often than not, the poor sap is me.