Thursday, February 15, 2007

snow, dust, and ashes

Well, yesterday turned out to be the test of my ability to find God in shoveling snow. We had our first real storm of the season, which brought a mixture of everything from freezing rain to wet snow. The sun came out in the middle of the day, and the temperature stayed warm enough that, although the snow was wet and heavy, it was still loose enough to shovel. Last night it got cold again, and it's now hardened solid. I figured yesterday was the one good chance to move the stuff, so in the afternoon I got out there with my trusty shovel. Ian did his part, too, but I outlasted him. He went inside after about an hour and a half.

Although living in an apartment saves you a lot of work--someone else keeps up the grounds, plows snow, and shovels walkways--you still end up with about as much to do when it comes to shoveling out your car. You have the added difficulty of shoveling between cars (some of which don't belong to you, so knocking them with the shovel really isn't an option), and you spend a lot more time walking back and forth between where your car is parked and where you can dump the snow. Plus, although they do plow the parking lot, they don't want to hit cars either, so they leave a lot of snow in front of them. But the real kicker is that you never know who's going to end up parking in the area you clear out.

In our complex, there are no assigned spaces. So if you shovel the space where you're parked, the only guarantee that you'll get that space back is if you don't go anywhere. Otherwise, all bets are off. Most people don't shovel unless there's absolutely no way to get their car out otherwise, which is their own business if they're the only ones using the spaces they don't shovel. But of course if they take the spot you cleaned out, you're stuck with whatever mess they left. To make matters worse, the plows dump snow piles in empty spaces, so you end up with a general shortage. It's like some sick game of musical chairs, where the last person to come home might not have anywhere to park.

My solution is to shovel more than one space. I typically do two, even though we only have one car. I figure that increases the odds that we'll get to use one of them, and it also allows someone else to benefit. Plus, with the way things were yesterday, I couldn't pass up all those empty spaces. I knew if they didn't get shoveled then, they wouldn't get shoveled at all. Doesn't that make me a great person, shoveling more than is required of me?

No, it apparently just gives me occasion to sin. Aside from feeling proud of myself for clearing out an extra space, I also ended up judging the person who parked in it. Later in the evening, I looked out the window and saw that the biggest SUV in our building was parked in my extra space. That person obviously had not shoveled their own space (no one else had), and they had the vehicle most capable of parking somewhere else. If that wasn't bad enough, I knew their spouse also drove an SUV, and I was sure my other space would be gone as soon as we left. Sure enough, when we got back later that night, all the spaces were taken, including a car that doesn't even belong to anyone in our building. We ended up having to parallel park in front of the snow pile, and I had more opportunity to grumble about our inconsiderate neighbors.

So apparently I do fine when it's just me, God, and the snow. But once Satan shows up with my neighbors (not that he's making them do what they do, but he certainly draws my attention to it), everything falls apart. God, be merciful to me a sinner!


Anonymous said...

Lol. Nice man with bad neighbours? Or are you equally mean, but just nice on this particular post? -.^

Just joking. (even though its not funny)

Jim Nee said...

being as incredibly out of shape as I am, I only shoveled my front walk the back walk to the driveway. I didn't even shovel the driveway itself. Last year I shoveled four or five front walks for other people I knew couldn't do it themselves, and I was rather proud of myself... in a humble way, of course! :)

So I'm not sure which event was the larger failure: to shovel many and be proud, or to almost shovel my own and feel neglegent. ?! At least no one parked in my spot.