Snow on Snow

It wasn’t supposed to snow on Monday, or if it was, everybody missed it because we were all gearing up for the big Nor’easter scheduled for Wednesday. Seriously–the snowstorms this year are becoming events that you can (and should) put on your calendar, so that you can schedule Nothing Productive that day.

As it happened, it did snow on Monday, even thought the weather websites insisted all day that Our Fair City was only going to get “flurries” that day. I shoveled about three inches of flurries off of my long and steep driveway, with Christina Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” going through my head the while, most especially the part, Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow. I have never encountered a year where that description was more apt . . . it just keeps snowing and not melting. Sure, we’re New Englanders, and we’re supposedly tough (notwithstanding schools delaying and closing because “it’s too cold”), but you can’t really say this winter is unremarkable. It turned out (if my facebook wall and my mom’s inbox are any indication) that all the northeastern English-major-types were singing “In the Bleak Midwinter” that day.

But that was nothing. On Wednesday, the Nor’easter came as scheduled, and thirteen inches of snow fell on the way-more-than-thirteen-inches of snow that was already there. I was up north of Boston overnight that night while Kermit was back at the dealership waiting for a check-up the following day. I had a rental-Yaris, that ever-so-cute-but-entirely-useless(-and-uncomfortable) Toyota product parked down the street from Seminary-Bonnie’s house. I was staying at Seminary-Bonnie’s house, but useless-rental-Yaris couldn’t make it up her already snow-covered driveway, so I parked it in front of the Methodist-revival chapel around the corner. Seminary-Bonnie lives in a crazy little neighbourhood which, in the snow, looks kind of like a creepy-on-the-basis-of-it-cuteness Santa’s Village or DisneyWorld. The roads are narrow, the houses are tumbled together, and there was snow everywhere.

Including all over and all around the Yaris when I tried to get out the next afternoon. As I set to work with a shovel, two cherry-picker trucks turned up. Between the two of them, there must have been five or six more or less strapping men suddenly in the neighbourhood. Evidently, as I learned later, a snowplow had gotten stuck in one of the tumbled streets, and they were there to help get it out; however, they didn’t all seem to be directly occupied with this task. As I say, there were five or six of them, and I know they saw my struggling away with my shovel and enormous clods of snow–it would’ve been impossible not to–but they either hied themselves off to help the snowplow, or sat inside their trucks, with the engines running.

After I shoveled as little as possible which might still enable me to get out (a task which, nonetheless, probably took me 45 minutes), I tried to . . . get out. But rental-Yaris was not going to comply. Too light even to maneouvre over the small drift that had collected under its own carriage, it slid around and got stuck, and I got more and more frustrated. A little old lady came out of one of the tumbled houses to offer advice, but what I really needed was a push. Finally I got out of the Yaris for the fifth or sixth time, marched over to a cherry picker, and said to the guy in the driver’s seat, “Excuse me. Can you please help me get this car out of the drift?”

“Sure!” he said, and jumped out of the cab, as if he had been totally unaware of my presence for the last hour but was quite happy to be made aware of it and to help it out. And he did, but I couldn’t help spending most of the afternoon muttering under my brain about how dead chivalry is. I didn’t feel like I should’ve had to ask.

Fortunately most of the snow-on-snow was plowed off the roads, and it was still light when I headed back to get Kermit. The GPS in my phone led me right through Boston, so that I can no longer claim never to have driven in that city. Both the rental-Yaris and I survived, and Kermit was ready and waiting for me . . . about an hour after I got back to the dealership. I was happy to leave off the Yaris and get Kermit back.

When I got home, there was a narrow pass through the mountains of plowed up snow on either side of the driveway, and no way to actually pull the car into the garage. And I still had to shovel the front walkway so Oscar could get out and do his thing. It took me another hour, but I’m a stronger person for it. Well, at least my shoulders are.


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