A look down the block shows everyone handles this winter chore in their own unique way. And I think if we were to classify these techniques, they might go something like this:
- The Winter Warrior. This is the neighbor who finds a single snowflake on their sidewalk to be a personal affront to civilization as we know it. The moment so much as one flurry dares to invade their territory, they are out there with shovels, plows, salt, and an elite troupe of anti-snow ninjas to remove the offending bit of crystallized H2O and return the world to how it once was. The Winter Warrior may shovel at least 17 times for a single snowfall. This person also likely aligns each bath towel inside the house so they hang of equal length on the towel rack.
- The Minimalist. This is the person who has decided to leverage the Obligatory Shoveling Loophole. They shovel a one-shovel-width path from their home to their car. If truly serious about the shoveling, they might extend the path to 50% of the sidewalk, crafting an elaborate illusion of safety and seasonal effectiveness. As a child, this was probably the kid who took two bites of dinner and pushed the rest around on his plate to fool Mom.
- The 'More Power' Enthusiast. This is the neighbor who was drooling all the way back in August with shiny thoughts of using the discount six-speed snowblower he just bought. At the first signs of snow, he is there, ready. Blowing out his drive, his back yard, his sidewalk, your sidewalk, the sidewalk of everybody on the block, people the next town over... Eventually he finds himself at the equator, overdressed, sweating, confused and out of gas. He is very popular among his neighbors. By end of winter, he will have taken on a benevolent God-like reputation.
- The Guilt Shoveler. This person is always one of the last people to shovel out after a snow storm. They check the status of other neighbors' properties from the warmth of their homes, while cupping a mug of cocoa, and wearing fuzzy slippers. They are waiting for someone else to set the shoveling precedent. They need this time to rationalize why they must be ripped from the comfort of flannel and chocolate when this white stuff from the sky will only likely come back again for round two. Only the fear that the other neighbors will call them Lazy McNoShovel gets them from their cocoon.
- The Free Spirit. The inhabitants of the house on the block that has never, ever shoveled any part of their walkway or drive. The U.S Postal Service knows this and every year simply keeps their mail to be delivered in the safety of Spring. No amount of inter-neighborhood peer pressure will encourage these homeowners to address the outdoor world of white. These folks are typically the ones who don't rake leaves, or take advantage of the benefits of public sanitation service.
Me, I border on being the Guilt Shoveler. But I have a Winter Warrior on one side of me. I get guilted a little early on in the Snow Removal Process, since he and his Shoveling Ninjas sweep in and out several times before the last flake of the storm has dropped.
There can be six feet of snow everywhere else on the street and then his sidewalk is completely bare and shining with happy salt crystals.
It just ain't right.
So tell me-- what's your snow removal style? Do you live next to a Winter Warrior, 'More Power' Enthusiast, or the Free Spirit?