Saturday, February 02, 2013

Snow Clearing: Maybe It's A Gender Thing ...

This morning, finishing my coffee, clacking away, I heard a machine fire up outside. I glanced out the window. It was a guy across the street on a four-wheel ATV with a little snow plow attached to the front. He was clearing the sidewalk.

We had what looked to be about an inch of snow.

When I can still clearly see the delineation of my sidewalks and driveway and grass, there's not much snow on the ground.

I wrote a tweet: "There's a man outside clearing snow with a plow attached to a four-wheel ATV. There's *maybe* an inch of snow on the ground. #oyveyuseashovel" and posted it to Facebook, too.

One Facebook friend in particular got into a good-natured argument with me. A man. He was on the side of all things motorized. I was arguing for manual.

For instance, in the fall, I use a rake to gather leaves. My male neighbor uses a leafblower.

In the winter, I use a shovel. The man across the street wasn't content with a snowblower. No, he needed a plow.

Do I own a snowblower? Yes I do. It is old and cute and one of my brothers got it for free and got it running again with an easy fix. And I have never used it. We can thank climate change and mild winters for that. (I haven't owned it for very long though.) But a couple of years ago when we had the blizzard, it would have been useless to me anyway, partly because it's little, and partly because I would have had to dug a huge path to even get to the thing.

But I own one. It's stored in the back of my garage alongside my lawnmowers. (I own two. I can explain that another day, though I hope you're not so starved for conversation that you want to hear why I have two lawnmowers.)

So there are two ways I could have cleared the snow today.

Option 1

I could have ...

1. ... stepped out of my front door and ...

2. ... walked to my garage (nope, it's not attached) and ...

3. ... compacted the snow with my shoes and ...

4. ... started my car and pulled it out of the garage and ...

5. ... compacted the snow with my tires and ...

6. ... gotten my snowblower out of the back of the garage and onto the driveway and ...

7. ... backed my car back into the garage so I could snowblow my driveway where my car had just been sitting and ...

8. ... snowblowed my driveway and front sidewalk and city sidewalk and ...

9. ... pulled my car back out of the garage and ...

10. ... put my snowblower away and ...

11. ... backed my car back into the garage and ...

12. ... walked back to my front stoop and grabbed the shovel next to it to shovel off the stoop and my few stairs.

or

Option 2

I could have ...

1. ... stepped out of my front door and ...

2. ... grabbed the shovel next to my front stoop and shoveled the inch or so of snow off my sidewalks and driveway.

I'm pretty sure either option would have taken about the same amount of time.

But with Option 2, I ...

a. ... got a little fresh air and ...

b. ... got a little exercise and ...

c. ... avoided burning any fossil fuels for a job that in no way required me to fire up an engine.

Have you noticed the planet is pretty pissed at us these days? Droughts? Floods? Hurricanes? Wildfires? Ice storms? Blizzards?

A girlfriend on my Facebook page chimed in to say that perhaps some men use snowblowers and the like because they can't exert themselves with shoveling.

And she makes a good point. Even though today's snow was what I call "Hollywood" snow, light and fluffy, like shoveling cotton, not "heart-attack" snow, wet and heavy and dangerous, I grant you.

But the guy on Facebook is my age and from all accounts in fine health so he wasn't arguing that issue. He was just advocating for more power to get a job done more quickly.

So maybe it's a gender thing. I'm fine with taking a few extra minutes to do an easy chore by hand, as it were. (Yes, the aforementioned lawnmowers are gas-powered, though I've looked into getting the electric kind with the rechargeable batteries.)

Yeah, maybe that's it. Mother Nature? Father Time? Women are more nurturing and men like get-it-done tools?

Whatever. I'm happy to shovel.

And when the blizzard struck, I was happy for the three guys who came by in a pickup and offered to help me dig out. We all used shovels. The snow was far too deep for a snowblower anyway.

And that was the best $60 I ever spent.

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