You’d think that people who live in a region where it snows a whole lot would be good at shoveling their driveways, brushing off their cars, and knocking down icicles.
But actually, it’s the opposite. You live in a place that gets a lot of snow, and you get tired of dealing with it. You start taking shortcuts. Six inches of snow on the roof of the car? No problem. It will blow off during the drive. Windshield coated with ice? No problem. It ought to melt by the time you get to work. Eight inches of snow in the driveway? No problem. Drive fast enough and you can plow right through it.
I rarely shovel all the way to the gravel in the driveway. There’s a certain logic to this. Too much shoveling is counterproductive because then all the little rocks end up in the snow banks and not on the driveway. “When I was kid, we had a PAVED driveway,” my husband always says. “It was so much easier to shovel.”
When we get a warm day, the snow in the driveway melts just enough to freeze into ice when the temperature drops in late afternoon. By this time of year, our long, hilly driveway has tall banks on either side, and alternating layers of snow and ice on top of the gravel, and big ruts where cars have gotten stuck and frustrated drivers have spun their wheels. This year, the snow banks claimed Boy in Black’s iPod, which fell out of his pocket when he was pushing my husband’s car out one dark night and hasn’t been seen since. I gave up on the driveway a week ago and just began parking on the road, which means I risk getting a ticket every night that it snows, which is just about every night.
When Little Biker Boy, the little ex-neighbor boy, came to visit the other day, he looked at the driveway and shook his head. “You did a terrible job shoveling,” he said. “Terrible.”
I could tell he was pleased. He likes to know that we are falling apart without him. I nodded. “Without you here, we don’t shovel as much.”
He and I decided to see what we could do about the driveway, but the plastic shovels were worthless against the hard, shining ice. So Little Biker Boy instead grabbed the inner tube we keep on the porch for sledding.
He ran, jumped into the tube, and went skimming down over the ice. Yep. We’ve got a fine sled run here. At least the driveway’s good for something.