it's so cold i have to state the obvious. pen-exploding cold. hand-whitening cold.
as an act of kindness, those of us indoors should warm the hands of those coming inside with our arm pits or our butts. "would you like me to sit on your hands?" should be a common greeting in a kind-hearted and caring society. sadly, people may take it the wrong way.
i just came in from my afternoon shoveling. i enjoy making a neat looking driveway. my current neighbor (one of many) in the transient house next door wandered out onto his stoop and looked at me as if he'd never seen a person work. if the world were all mirrors, he wouldn't. "i would have thought you would have a snow blower," he said. i tried to explain how a shovel is all a person needs. he looked confused. in seven years, i have never seen a person in that house shovel. they prefer getting stuck or sliding into my fence.
meanwhile, i watch others around the neighborhood, shovels in hand. one woman shovels slowly, for hours, whittling away at the sidewalk as if she's carefully sculpting a statue of a fallen hero on a horse. she rakes in much the same way--like she doesn't want to wake the grass.
the retired school janitor across the street shovels so much, uglywife says he shovels his lawn. he doesn't shovel a path to anything; he rearranges snow. he does so because every so often a neighbor will arrive home, or someone will walk by, or someone like me will be shoveling within earshot. it is his social life. work has always provided him with conversation and a sense of belonging.
shovel and you belong. blow snow and you keep a noisy distance. stay inside and you become unaware a society even exists.
it's cold and i have no one to sit on my hands.
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