Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm dreaming of a white April...

I just finished shovelling my driveway. I had to do it an hour earlier than I otherwise would have, because of the time change. I had the kids out there helping for a bit, my girlfriend made an appearance to finish things off, and between us we got it done in just under two hours. In the end, we decided that the best thing to do would be to create a shovelled area on the driveway that was just barely big enough for the car to slip in and out. It was important to be able to get the car out today, you see, because Jen had run out of coffee. So now I can go to Tim Hortons and get her some coffee, and some hot chocolate for the kids. So now I have a narrow tunnel between two skyscraper size mountains of snow in which to get in and out of the garage. So now I can go to the video store to rent some video games for the kids. I liked it better when we were snowed in. Although I did get to meet several of my neighbours, people I had never talked to before. A guy stopped by in his car. He had just come in from Jamaica or some tropical place this morning, and was wondering where on the street he could park his car so he would be able to shovel and then get into his driveway.

Everyone waved as they drove by and saw us struggling with the snow. There is some kind of neighbourly camaraderie that is forged in the aftermath of a snow storm. It's a strange one, though, because although we are all working toward a common goal, it is motivated entirely by self-interest. Our common goal is the removal of snow. Our self-interest dictates that the snow we are working toward removing is only that on our own driveways. Once we are done shovelling there, we are done shovelling. No one is truly interested in banding together to attack the snow as a neighbourhood, merely in acknowleding the battle against a common foe. This is fine. I would help little old people, if I saw those around, but I act for the most part in a selfish manner. If you look young and able-bodied enough, I will merely wave, and we will silently and briefly commisserate over our shared toil and misery. As I drove to Tim Hortons, I saw the various methods of snow removal that were under way. Some had snowblowers, others had shovels, and just about no one had a garage they used. I might be the only person in my neighbourhood who keeps his car in the garage. Everyone else's must be filled with snowshoes and skis and bikes and barbecues and tool benches and so forth.

Because everyone's car was on the road. Of course, they had to shovel the end of the driveway, so they could drive the car out, then they parked it on the road while they shoveled the rest of the driveway, then they returned the car to it's prior location, this time entrenched in an impenetrable fortress of snow several metres high. In some cases, the walls on either side were too high for people, thanks to prior snowfall and poor driveway design. I saw one guy on Castlefrank Road taking one shovelfull of snow, walking across Castlefrank when traffic permitted, and throwing the snow onto the snowbank by the sidewalk. By the time people read this post on Monday afternoon, he might be halfway done.

But I made it to Rogers video, and now that I'm back with the games the kids picked, I can relax at the computer, write on my blog, and watch the video games in progress. I am currently watching the game my 13-year-old stepson chose. I'm not making this title up: Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None: The Video Game. I saw this and I had to laugh. Cabin fever must not be contained to this part of the world, there must be a stifling of creativity and a shortage of imagination the world over. There are no original ideas left. I suggested to the boy that perhaps he would like to read the book itself as well. I got it from my bookshelf and handed it to him, it's not that long. "That seems like work" he said, and settled down to play the video game, all the while pestering me with questions about the book in order to better understand what he was doing in the game. In fact, that's still going on now. Was there a barrel of flour and a scoop in the book? I don't remember. READ SOMETHING. You're snowed in, what better way to spend a snow day than reading by the fire?

I am looking forward to the day when he will be the video game character Emma Bovary, attempting to distance herself from the advances of Rodolphe Boulanger, in order to gain enough hit points and power ups to be able to once again attain the affections of Leon least Don Quixote would make a fine video game. I'm sure glad I could shovel out eleven feet of snow from my driveway for this, it's a fine way to spend an afternoon. And some day I will hear of an original idea for a video game, or perhaps watch a movie that isn't a remake or a sequel, a TV show that isn't a rip-off or a spin-off, and perhaps one day this boy will read a book that isn't about dragons. Then again, perhaps one day I will get over my selfishness and help my neighbour shovel his driveway. Actually, no. Screw him, he has a snowblower.


  1. I agree. I saw neighbours I haven't seen in a dogs age. And of course I got to torment the neighbour from hell by parking on the street in front of his house. Out here it was either snowblower, snow plow or shovel.

  2. The only way I will meet enough of my neighbours to discover which one is "from hell" is if we have more snow days!