Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Snowstorms: A classroom of the human condition

I'm not lazy exactly, but I'm heavily spoiled.
I have one of those husbands every girl wants, the kind who does everything around the house. He cooks, he cleans, he fixes everything, and he shovels.
Since we've been together, I haven't picked up a shovel, not once. Except the other day when I arrived home, alone, to discover that the city snow plow had left a three foot snowdrift in front of my driveway, compacted into a mixture of dirt, salt, ice and snow.
We recently got a new car and I am always superstitious, you know, I'm one of those glass is half empty sorts that fully expects someone to come along and schmuck it before we've made our first car payment. I've seen this happen to others, more than once, in this long life, and I was not going to let it happen to me.
So there I was, outside my fence for the very first time since we moved here nearly four years ago, and I began to chat with my neighbor across the way. I had never spoken to him before.
His name is Kyle and he lives there with his girlfriend, baby and a couple of roomies.
Over my fence, his place has made a bit of an impression.
It's kind of a sketchy place, like Shameless, the tv show, and sometimes the roomies have been self-confessed crackheads who seem to be attracted to my 'hood like fruit flies. There are always half eaten cars in the yard, things once needful, but no longer useful, junk, moving flats, etc. etc. etc.
So I've made a few presumptions over the years, fueled by the gossip of Georgette, the 80-year-old busy body who's quick with a remark and a call to bylaw. Georgette absolutely hates Kyle and his dad, Len. I've seen Len over the fence, flipping her the bird on her daily walks to the Quickie to get scratch off tickets.
Anyway, Kyle was shoveling and came over to introduce himself and to offer me the use of his shovel which was steel and more useful on icy snow banks than the lame plastic one we have.
I waved him off, in a friendly enough manner, but then he got in my business and actually offered to help me shovel. Who does that?
So we got talking and he gave me his biography in 15 minutes.
"I used to be kind of a bad guy," he smiled. "But I've been with my girlfriend and we have a kid now, and well, I've changed."
He works construction while his girlfriend is a pharmacist's assistant. They take in boarders, not all, he admits, savory ones. He still smokes a little pot, drinks a little beer, he says.
"Come over sometime in the summer and have a swim."
A pool? Shameless has a pool? I thought it was a crack house. I imagined it was a grow op.
"It's just a small above ground one, but it works pretty well."
He left me with a fully shoveled walk and a new feeling. I was a little ashamed of myself.
Snowstorms can be classrooms of the human condition, can't they? 

1 comment:

  1. They sure can be.
    I love big snow storms because they're the only time the entire neighbourhood is outside together.

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