Wed Feb 19, 2003 5:40:33 PM
Be Careful What You Wish For

For those of you who live in warmer countries such as California, the East Coast got buried under a snowstorm Sunday and Monday. And for those of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon line, DC's paltry 20 inches must seem like a cakewalk. In Boston, by now (two full days after the snow ceased falling), either you'd be able to see the asphalt on every single residential street and alley, or you'd be perusing your sample ballot for the emergency mayoral recall election. Cambridge is even better about plowing, but that's just because snow interferes with their largest single source of municipal revenue: towing cars.

But DC is down south, and the only snow our elected representatives are used to dealing with is... oh, wait: I own a house here now. What I meant to say is, "DC — Crack-Smoking-Mayor-Free Since 1998!". And I guess I'll spare the Southerners among you another Damn-Yankee tirade on how y'all have no idea what to do with two inches of the stuff, let alone two entire feet. But I was kind of forlornly hoping that they'd eventually get around to plowing my street, rather than simply letting the change of seasons take its course on the snow.

Be careful what you wish for. Molly just called out to tell me a plow was coming down our street. I rushed outside to cheer them on, and saw: the blade hovering six inches off the pavement, and a pitiful sprinkle of salt coming out the back of the plow. All this did was push the crown of snow from the middle of the street into the relatively drivable tracks, where it was promptly crushed into slushy proto-ice by the wheels of the heavy truck. The salt, I guess, is mostly to dissuade neighborhood kids from making snow cones out of the fresher stuff underneath.

On a different note (same theme): Molly, Joe, and I went for a walk this afternoon. Most of our neighbors have well-shoveled sidewalks — a few are even bone-dry. But as we walked in our chosen direction, the shoveling got spottier and spottier, until we had to give up using the stroller and carry Joe. The twist is that we were walking in the direction of increasing property values. More than once, we saw a house with beautifully-shoveled steps, a wide, clear path to a Mercedes or BMW, and untouched snow on the rest of the sidewalk in front. If they ever fine for not shoveling, they should double it for cases like that.

(Isn't the plaintiff's bar supposed to take care of stuff like this? Has nobody here (honest or con-artist) ever heard of slip-and-fall lawsuits?)

I suppose I should say something positive. OK: all this snow means fewer, slower drivers around here. Dozens of lives have probably been saved already.