A story. But first: the setting.

rob pickThis has been the absolute worst winter in my recollection. Massive snowfalls coupled with warm melting periods immediately followed by flash freezing has resulted in a perfect shit-storm parfait of thick ice, wet snow, ice, etc. This April there was eight inches of solid impenetrable filthy ice at the base of my driveway thanks to the snowplow and Mother Goddamn Nature. I removed it with a pickaxe. I’m not kidding.
Get it? It was awful.

Anyway, relatively early in the season (romantics call it “winter”; realists call it “hell”) we had one of those rotten evenings of snow/ice/snow and I was left with a morning full of sweating and swearing removing it so I could…go to work. Yes, more work done in the hour it takes to clear the end of my driveway than I would accomplish the entire day at the office. But that’s beside the point.

My immediate neighbour to the right is a very large senior’s home. They employ a crack team of snow removal specialists. During the evening one of them used their beautiful little CAT machine thingy to place a chuck of ice the size and thickness of a pool table on the sidewalk between our two properties. My purple plastic shovel wasn’t up to the task. So, purple shovel in hand (to win sympathy!) I walked over to the neighbouring building hoping to talk someone into removing said iceberg.

Low and behold, the CAT is there beavering away. Now, I worked in retail for a very long time. So, I know that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. With a (rather forced) smile on my face I approach the driver and before I can say anything he says “Buddy. I saw it. I’ll be right over.” Shocked and a touch elated I thank him and wander home to continue clawing my way through my own glacier.

True to his word he whips over and removes the offending chunk of ice in a single scoop. AND THEN HE CLEARS THE REST OF MY DRIVEWAY. My arms are in the air in triumph and thanks. He waves and moves on.

Great story eh? Except after every major snowfall, of which there were several, he continues to clear my driveway. One scoop with his bucket and I’m left with a few bits here and there. Anyone who lives in Canada, and by that I mean NOT BRITISH BLOODY COLUMBIA, knows that the snow at the end of your driveway, the stuff projectile vomited from the blade of a snowplow, is the worst assortment of frozen, dirty, half-melted, ice infused crap. You have to chip it with a flattened hoe to then shovel it away. He was quite literally saving my life.

I never have cash on me and I kept forgetting to not drink any extra booze around the house but one day I made a special trip to the liquor store. I had to thank this guy. So, I bought a bottle of Cuban rum. Hell, if I never connected with him or he didn’t drink—it wouldn’t go to waste. And I waited.

Sure enough we had one last monster soul-sucking snow storm and there he was clearing my driveway again. I rushed into the house, grabbed the bottle and stopped him.

“Are you the sort of man who would take a drink every now and then?” I asked.

“I might be” he smiled.

“This is for you. Thanks so much for clearing my driveway man. You saved my back all winter.”

“Do you know why I do that?” He asked.

“Nope. But I sure am thank…”

“I travel all over the city and this year there’s so much snow sometimes we have to put it on people’s property. They yell at us. Sometimes they throw stuff at us. You’re the only guy who came over with a smile on his face.”

I was thunderstruck. Cuz I’m kind of a jerk most of the time.


Rob is a graphic design instructor and practicing designer/illustrator. He likes monsters.

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