Wednesday, February 2, 2011

John Henry vs. Machismo

  It's a good thing, living where I do, that I am extremely good at shoveling snow.  I've never owned a snowblower, never really wanted one, and get along just fine by shoveling myself out whenever it snows hard. 

At our old house, sometimes I would venture outside at the same time as our neighbor across the way, and after a wave, Don and I would race, whether he knew it or not.  He with his snowblower and I with my shovel, and we would tie working equal distance of the sidewalks around our corner houses.  Sometimes, I would even win.  I felt like John Henry, with my shovel. I never felt like a girl, outmanned by a snowblower. 

But, occasionally, I find myself outgunned by the good intentions of a few guys with their toys.  Today, for instance, Sarah and I were out shoveling, when up walks Justin N. with a shovel.  He figured we could use his help.  What a great kid, and so is Linz, who called him because she knew I wouldn't ask for help, but might need it, anyway.

Then, when I drove over to Ely with my trusty shovel to unstick Linz's car, I got in two minutes, before a red-cheeked man from across the street came over and waved me aside.  He had a snowblower.  He manfully tackled the waist-high drift created by the snowplow, before being waved aside by a younger man with a much bigger snowblower.  "Stand back, old man," said the boy.  The two men laughed and Linz and I just looked at each other over the guys' heads, standing helplessly by with our shovels, afraid to get in the way of this testosterone contest fought with snowblowers.  The winner was the guy who arrived next, with a skidloader, to easily move the pile of snow.

I totally could have gotten Linz's car free, just as I could have cleared my own driveway.  I don't know if it's the protective instinct among men to fix things for women and show off a little at the same time, what their cool toys can do.  It's very cute, really.


  1. I laughed when I got to the part about the young man showing up with the bigger snowblower. What a great essay!

  2. I love that you can outshovel a snowblower. But one might expect as much from a marathoner-in training.