It's been a loooong snowy winter in Utah. Dirty, murky snow is piled up at the edges of the parking lots; heaped behind the mail boxes. Drooping wearily against the glass of the French doors.
Once again, as I did many years ago, I'm living in a little community with a private road, so we have to keep it cleared ourselves. This is accomplished by several people who have plow-blades on their vehicles, with varying levels of success and grace. Chuck is one of them, with his piece-of-shit white van. Lately, it's getting harder. No places left to push the snow, the parking areas getting a little smaller after each snowfall.
Compared to my life in the "old place", much farther up in the mountains with a much more difficult, shared parking area, this is no big deal. In the old place, I would sometimes spend the better part of a day digging out a parking space after a 6-8 foot (Really! No kidding!) snowfall, only to get home after work and find some other person had parked in it. Sometimes I would put a little sign in the parking place that would say polite and dainty things like, "I shovelled all day to make this parking place. I don't get home from work until 10 PM. I would appreciate it so much of you would respect my hard work, blah, blah blah..." I would return home to find the note torn to pieces in the snow. Then I would daintily yell, "FUCK! FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!"
So, nothing I see here looks like a breach of common courtesy. These spoiled folks down near the bottom of the mountain do not know the meaning of snow! Chuck spent a couple of hours on Monday plowing as best he could and assured me at bedtime that I would have no problem making the early morning pilgrimage to drop off the kids at school.
It was cold when I got up at 6 AM. Figuring I would encounter no one, I dressed, but then put my fluffy bathrobe back on over my clothes, put my coat on over all that, and trekked out to the mailbox in search of the morning paper. Naturally, since I was dressed like some sort of weird combination of Russian Cossack and old-fashioned, fleece robed parish priest, I encountered several people on their way to work. Smile and wave, Kate. Just smile and wave. I digress, though. The more important discovery was a big-ass pile of snow right in the middle of the road. It was a lot of snow, frozen into a
massive lump. Huh. I stared stupidly at it. I looked all around. Maybe it walked here? I looked up.
Did it drop from the sky? From some massive tree limb far above? I don't know about you, but I don't like to face early morning challenges while in my bathrobe in the snow.
I approached Chuck with this mystery. He rolled sleepily out of bed and peered out the window. Mystery solved. Remember that our little road begins at our house, then makes its way past the cabin in which Chuck's ex-girlfriend, Marianne, resides. After that, it wends its way past a few other places and out to a bigger road. He cleared their section of road when he cleared ours, but he had left a 12 inch berm behind their cars. He had to: there was no where else to push it; and his hydraulics are broken. He couldn't properly groom their parking area for this reason. This was their way of getting even. Oh, blah. I prefer vengeful neighbors on mornings when I don't have to have my daughter at her middle school by 7:30 AM. I got out there and got shoveling. It was solid. It needed to be chopped before it could be moved. Soon, I was chipping madly, while Sara shoveled and Nate reminded us that it was getting "later! Mom, you are going to be soooooo late!"
I finally went for it. Got stuck. Had to run back up to the house and ask Chuck to come and push me out. I wondered if Marianne and her boyfriend, Jim, were watching from the house and laughing at us. Well, at least I was no longer wearing my fluffy bathrobe.
Well, so much for my little adventure. I missed all the good stuff that came later. Why am I never in the right place when the brawl breaks out? Here's all the stuff I missed!
1. When Chuck saw Jim and mentioned to him that his shoveling techniques left a few things to be desired.
2. When Jim got up in Chuck's face and told him that his existence left a few things to be desired.
3. When both parties deemed it highly desirable to yell. A lot. About the other one's undesirability.
4. And more! Police! Unauthorized persons (well one person - Jim) climbing into the van! Broken steering column! Neighborly assistance to tow the van out of the way! Lots of gossip, lots of ridicule.
Besides entertaining the neighborhood, it also made for excellent office cackling, especially when Chuck showed up with flowers later in the day.
We are without a plow, now. If there is any more snow, we will have to park out on the section of the road where the county plows run. I don't care. At the old place, I had to do that all the time. I suspect Marianne won't enjoy it, though. Want to borrow a sled, Marianne? You'll need to to haul your groceries. And your dirty laundry. Of course, everybody has already seen it.