Sunday, February 18, 2007

Progress slouches on

After sleeping for most of Saturday (rather than working on my rather desperately long list of tasks), I have awakened from dreams of my fellow grad students giving me advice on my classes to find that at long last the snow has stopped falling. Of course this happened quite a while after I shoveled the walks, so everything is back under a blanket of snow. At least things are cleared enough that I can use the regular snow shovel and won't have to worry about putting the Mickey Mouse shovel back into action.

This past week, I had prided myself on my hard-won ability to drive in snow. Those formative years in Northern Indiana's vast countryside on the last road to get plowed out and the first one to drift shut allowed for far more experience in driving in bad compact cars through inclement conditions than most people have been able to get in a lifetime. After driving through the teeth of the blizzard last Tuesday to get groceries, after blithely handling uphill situations, after using my manual transmission to keep traction, etc., I managed to get stuck coming out of my next-door driveway on my way to the symphony. My previous methods were of no use. To complicate matters, a rather stupid UPS delivery man turned onto my street in his enormous truck. I motion for him to back up and continue around the block, as I am completely blocking all plowed roadspace. He refuses to budge, making a somewhat impatient gesture that his delivery spot is on the street I am barricading with my snowbound Honda.
I head off to my garage to get the Mickey Mouse shovel, muttering not too quietly as to how bovine this delivery man is. If he wants to forgo driving around the block to make a delivery and simply watch me shovel my car out, then his time is obviously less valuable than my own. In my dress shoes I clop and stumble like a shetland pony on snot trying to get to my garage, then hear, as I grab my shovel, the UPS truck gunning its engine. As I look around the house, I see that he has become impatient, has tried to wedge himself behind my car, and in attempting to power himself through the deep snow, has managed to get stuck. Directly behind my car. More not particularly quiet commentary on the mental faculties of the driver. One of my neighbors comes out with a shovel to watch the proceedings. A quick question from her about how stupid the driver is, then one about my rather small shovel. The neighbor asks why he is stuck behind me. I explain the situation. The driver, surly and perhaps somewhat embarrassed at being such an ass, says nothing, crawling under his truck to attach tire chains. He is still stuck. Wheels spin, pitching snow over my trunk. The neighbor makes some hand motion toward the delivery man, with most of her words obliterated by the howling engine, save for the ending phrase: box of rocks. Enough progress has been made for me to throw my shovel in the passenger seat and drive off to the symphony. I wave a friendly wave to my neighbor as the driver makes a delivery one house from the far corner of our block, certainly less conveniently situated than if he had he followed my advice. Perhaps he just enjoys a challenge.

Today I actually have been getting some schoolwork done. Ideas for memoir class. Readings for memoir done. Two student papers graded. Pop quizzes graded. Ideas for things to write about for workshop. It's a rather small list in comparison with my Things to Do list, but at least we have things in the debit column this weekend.


Lydia said...

Yuck! I hate driving through snow. The backroads of Michigan are crap too. Whoever said that Michigan knows how to get rid of snow on the roads is a liar.

I'll give you the update on the college auditions.

Kristen said...

"shetland pony on snot"

That is certainly a memorable phrase!

Yes, I have also been quite happy to have had considerable experience driving in/on snow. I swear I am the only one in this city who doesn't absolutely freak out should a flurry fall.