When 'snow people' talk, keep your shovel handy

January 10, 1996|By GREGORY KANE

A question for all you folks who claim that you just "luvvv" snow: Are you happy now?

I'm not. I don't like the stuff. Never have. The two feet of snow that will probably be with us well into March is the reason why.

You see, there are summer people and winter people. Winter people love snow, ice storms, sub-zero wind chills. They love the miserable blizzard that has closed down the city and snarled traffic since Sunday. And they no doubt love the prospect of getting more of the stuff dumped on us this Thursday and Friday.

I'm a summer person. No matter how hot it gets, the city never closes. Traffic moves. I can hop in the car, turn on the air conditioner and find a nice, air-conditioned movie to chill out in. If it gets really hot over a long period of time, I can always take a vacation and head for the cooler temperatures of Canada.

But a snowfall this large -- I'd wager there are parts of Siberia that haven't seen this much of the white stuff -- leaves me in an ornery mood. How doth the blizzard offend me? Oh, let me count the ways:

The extra work factor -- After shoveling my front porch and walk, I had to do the same to my back porch and walk. Then I had to dig out the snow that surrounded the Greggiemobile. I've got muscles aching that haven't moved since I wrestled at City College. My slave ancestors didn't work as hard as I did on Monday.

The driving factor -- Heck, I don't like driving even in good weather. I agree with Bela Lugosi, quoted in the movie "Ed Wood," in which the artistically challenged director asks Lugosi why he doesn't have a car.

"I refuse to drive in this country," Lugosi retorts. "Too many madmen."

Since there are madmen on the roads in good weather, I'm positively terrified of driving in this mess. But driving is not an issue, since the Greggiemobile is parked snugly on my block, where it may remain until the spring thaw. That brings me to the next factor.

The snow-plowing factor -- City public works director George Balog has promised that work crews will plow all side streets. Oh? Since when? My block has never been plowed in the nine years I've lived there. Has the public works department got religion all of a sudden? Mind you, we don't mind that the block doesn't get plowed. We understand there must be a list of side streets that are marked to get plowed and that we aren't on it. We do ask that city officials not toy with us by implying our block will be plowed. In fact, yesterday as I wrote this column some folks who live on my block formed a "shovel posse" and started digging themselves out.

The wise-guy factor -- As I dug out I had to listen to the cracks of one guy who scoffed at my efforts to remove snow from the street so that cars on the block could pass. I was digging a path from behind my car to the other side of the street.

"Even if you do that," he wisecracked, "you'd still have to dig 50 yards up the street to get out. That would take you about two days." Indeed it might have, but that would still be way before the city sent a snowplow to the area.

The camaraderie factor -- It's been mentioned on local television news. We are regaled with heartwarming tales of how stalwart citizens have gotten together and helped dig each other out of snow drifts or performed other blizzard-inspired charitable acts. My idea of camaraderie is giving a high five to the guy sitting next to me after Cal Ripken slams a dinger over the center field bleachers in Camden Yards. Snow-shoveling camaraderie I don't need.

The Cleveland's revenge factor -- Cleveland Browns fans are, I suspect, behind this weather. I can't prove it, but my hunch is they worked out a deal with a weather deity or two to curse us with this infernal white stuff for stealing their Browns.

"You got our Browns, now take the weather that goes along with them," gleeful Clevelanders must now be saying. But I and others who opposed the Browns' move must now suffer with everyone else. Bad weather afflicts "the just and the unjust," Biblical Scripture tells us, which has always struck me as a bit unfair. I figure God, being God, could surely think of some way to make the unjust suffer -- give 'em an annoying rash, for example -- while leaving the just be.

So snow lovers are probably feeling their oats along about now, and I have a plan that should keep them happy in perpetuity. They can move to an arctic climate. And take this insufferable white stuff with them.

Gregory P. Kane's column appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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