Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anarchy in the U.S.A.

So, roomie was feeling all pooky yesterday morning. She wasn't sure whether she'd be going to the doctor's office or to work, but she was heading to one or the other of those destinations.

While she was getting ready in the AM, I dressed, grabbed a snow shovel, and cleared a path to the garage. Got in and punched the opener... The garage door went up and there was her car in the alley, buried under a white cocoon and surrounded with a foot of snow.

I shoveled a path to the driver's side, snagged the push broom and knocked most of the accumulation off her econobox, stared at the rest of the alley a bit, and nearly collapsed. Roomie came out, sniffling and coughing and obviously feeling like microwaved hell, looked around and said "Get the extension cord..."

I thought she was nuts, but I paid out the orange line as she hooked up the snowblower and started clearing. The engineer chick that lives two doors down was shoveling out in front of her garage. Instead of turning left towards the street, RobertaX turned right towards the neighbor's driveway. Seeing this, our neighbor redoubled her efforts. Feeling like a total slacker, I picked up the shovel I'd set down and started continuing my roomie's path to the street, lest I let down the side.

With the three of us working, the alley was cleared in short order. I had to stop Bobbi from excavating yet another neighbor's drive with "Hey, Che Guevara of the Revolutionary Communal Snow-Clearing Committee! They can get the last two feet from their garage themselves. Get in your car and get to the doctor's office!"

Later, as I was walking back from the grocery store, my next-door neighbor came out and asked about the conditions. I told her, and she decided she'd skip the driving and just walk to the store.

This afternoon I was sitting on the front porch reading when I noticed that her sidewalk hadn't been cleared yet. This offended my sense of order. I grabbed my shovel and, with no expectation of reimbursement, started connecting my cleared sidewalk to the one two doors down. As I was finishing up, my neighbor, obviously fresh from the shower, came out and set two six-packs of Gnaw Bone Pale Ale on her front porch.

Well, gosh, I hadn't been expecting a reward for being a good neighbor, but far be it from me to turn down good beer. I made sure her sidewalk got an extra good scraping before I headed back to my front porch.

I'm dying to see how teh gummint can make a law to make this system work better...


(Interestingly, all the little side streets here were uncleared by the city's plows, which meant no plowing whatsoever. Except for one right at the end of our alley. Apparently one of the neighbors down there had paid for a clearing service that not only gave them a couple guys with shovels on the sidewalks and driveway, but also a Ramcharger with a plow blade on the street in front of the house...)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I'm reading this right I have to assume you have a roofless garage. What did I miss?

Tam said...

The garage contains stuff, motorbikes, my Zed Drei, her defunct MGB, and other things. Her daily driver lives outside, since it is less likely to have its roof slashed with a pocket knife...

James E. Griffin said...

Glad to see neighbors doing what neighbors are supposed to do - look out for each other, without resorting to excessive intrusion into private lives.

This story, and Miles Davis' Solea, almost make up for all the freaking PowerPoint presentations I've had to do this week!

word verification "calsthit" ain't touching that one. Not today.

theirritablearchitect said...

"I'm dying to see how teh gummint can make a law to make this system work better..."

...by handing over 4 of the 12 beers that you rightfully earned to said gummint, that's how.

Feel free to stab the piker in the neck who comes to collect.

Ride Fast said...

That is one sweet tale. Your good people. Please, carry on.

How come no snow blade on the rear of Roberta's econobox?

The Freeholder said...

The government will improve your little snow removal system by passing a law to make it mandatory that you do so within 12 hours of a snowfall.

As I'm sure you already know, the government can always improve a system....

JD said...

They beat me to it but I was going to say they will find a way to tax the beer. . .

Crucis said...

Good on ya, Tam.

WV: mousl
What my cat sometimes says after a midnight snack.

tomcatshanger said...

You where transfered beer without an ID check or taxes collected?

Then of coarse the government can make it better, mandatory background checks for beer transfers, with administrative fees going to the Health Insurance and Accountability Act fund.

You obviously aren't up with the program. There's nothing the government can't make more complicated and expensive for our safety.

Less said...

Wow! You guys are keeping your "Yes! We can!" promises to "the community!"

;)

Srsly tho - I'm just happy I'm not buried under. (It that wrong?)

og said...

That's just being decent humans. And it's rare as hen's teeth. Usually, when that stuff happens here, it rains Webley-Fosbery automatic revolvers for about four hours. After which boxes of ammo parachute out of the sky, and it's all boxer primed and non corrosive.

Roberta X said...

...The notion at work here is "beneficence" rather than altruism and it's with a side order of self-interest: I have a snowblower; it takes about as much work (in this nice dry snow) as a lawnmower to run. My extension cords will take it half-way to the street -- and alllll the way to the neighbor's. So once I'd connected to her already-cleared patch of alley (working in the kind of breathless fever where you can keep on right up until you fall over asleep), she lent a hand with the last bit to the street, where the snowblower won't reach. There was, of a sudden, something in it for her: access to the road. I wasn't counting on her help, no more than Tam counted on getting anything for shoveling our in-between neighbor's walk; but it is interesting how often beneficience pays off.

...I am, thanks to the hours I work, a somewhat furtive and curt neighbor; so it pays me to be beneficent when I can.

og said...

yeah, I do the neighbors' drives (I'm usually up before they are) and hit the mailbox areas so the mailman can get in. I also have a bigass thrower, (and a 100 yard driveway) and I LURVE using it to hurt the snow.

Can't remember when a neighbor did squat for me, though.

Rio Arriba said...

Americans are, by history and inclination, anarchists. But we take of our neighbors.

Of course, ale-bearing neighbors go to the head of the line.

Rabbit said...

Here, what passes for snow and ice- specifically ice storms, all goes away in 24 hours.

Unless you're say, MattG, Cowotown Cop, or LawDog. Then the accident reports and Blue Forms last all week long.

Zook didn't have any problems getting around, but on the other hand, it has a profile and a footprint like an Ed Roth nightmare.

Regards,
Rabbit.

wv=josches. Issat what Josh wears in the slush?

brbiswrite said...

When the BRB family was living in a small village in the wilds of rural Ontario, Canada, I had my 80' drive cleared ("cleaned" in Canadianese) by a neighbor on his open tractor with a blade.

I tried to stuff a 20 dollar bill in his mitt, but he looked offended. The next time he showed up to clean the drive, I had a 40 pounder of Canada's best rye, Weiser's Deluxe to hand. It disappeared into his coat in a flash, and I learned a valuable lesson.

BRB

Liberty Girl said...

We're going to need a new category: Snowblogger

Sken said...

A Ramcharger in Indiana? It must have been translucent. Too many years and too much salt to have been an opaque full size Mopar SUV.

Thank you (and feverish roomie) for proving that it takes no compulsion from commissars or an invisible guy in the sky to be good people.

Sken

Don Gwinn said...

The neighbor was probably just setting the beer out to get cold faster . . . . :)

Bruce B. said...

So Tam has a dilemma here. Was the pale ale really for her or is her neighbor's fridge busted? lol

Growing up on the farm we didn't need to get out on a snow day (my mom taught at our high school) My uncle kept the blade on the tractor at his place about a mile away and he'd clear the road between our places so that our neighbors who commuted for their jobs could get out to the 2 lane highway. It was up to them and the state plows from there whether they could make it to work.

Bruce B.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Guys, they ALREADY tax beer. And cigarettes. These two things are probably the only things keeping everything afloat right now, in much the same way it kept things afloat during the Great Depression. You ever notice no matter how destitute someone living in the ghetto is, that person always seems to find money to buy booze and smokes?

Tam, you and Bobbi are good peeps. So how's she doing? What's the diagnosis?

Blackwing1 said...

I "inherited" the big 8-horse, 2-stage snowblower when my folks had to give up their house and move to a townhome (Dad's dementia was getting dangerous). I don't bother to fire it up unless we get a big dumper of snow, but when I do, I invariably blow out my neighbor's on both sides of us, and the guy across the alley. It's really not all that much extra effort to just keep going, once that monster is fired up, and it goes a long ways towards keeping the neighbors friendly.

P.S.: I'm no altruist either. My niece refers to me as the "surly curmudgeon, from the following:

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort."
- Robert A. Heinlein

perlhaqr said...

"Snowblower". "Lawnmower". Hee!

Man, I love living in New Mexico. :D

Zendo Deb said...

I have to ask... which electric snow-blower do you have and how does it work?

Yes, I am still stuck in Illinois, and currently sans snow thrower. There is not a gas snow thrower (less than 900 bucks) to be had in all of northern Illinois.

Tam said...

Bobbi says it was a Sears 20" snow thingie. It seemed to work just peachy on a foot of powder to my untrained eyes.