Howdy all. it’s the Negress. She’s checking a little late because it took some time for her fingers to thaw out after this week’s blizzard. To paraphrase Sylvia Plath, blizzards are an art and we do them exceptionally well. Except for some exceptions. If you live here, you had better not be blizzard-challenged. It’s never a question of “if.” It’s a question of “when.”
1. Usually the answer to the “when” question is “the month of February.” Regardless of what the damn groundhogs indicate, Chicago will usually get at least one significant snowfall by President’s Day. On President’s Day is also a good bet.
2. While many other cities are paralyzed by six inches or less of the white stuff, Chicagoans just shrug. The Negress has taken to referring to these minor snowfalls as “tourist snow.” It exists so that tourists can take pictures and tell them friends back home how awful it was.
3. Apparently there is an ordinance in the city of Chicago exempting churches and schools from sidewalk clearance. This doesn’t leave much territory that is cleared.
4. Also, many Chicagoans will clear a path that is one shoe wide. You should yield the right of way when someone is coming to the person who gets to the impasse first.
5. Now that the Negress no longer owns a car, she does not have to engage in the practice of “dibs.” This means you have a claim to any parking space you shovel out. You mark it by placing lawn furniture, trash barrels, saw horses, old couches etc. in the space so no one else can park there. Wars have been fought for less.
6. Do not dump the snow from getting your car out where it will keep others from removing their cars. The Negress once parked her car in a garage, which alleviated her need to clean off her car. Imagine her horror when she opened the garage door to find that the neighbor had blocked said garage with the snow he had removed to unblock his own.
7. It is courteous, if you have a snow blower, to clear your neighbor’s sidewalks. If you are feeling really generous, you can do driveways as well. Neighbors, if this is done for you, baked goods (kids and the sober) are a nice reward. Bourbon is also good.
8. As we all here know, side streets and alleys are something of a no-go when it comes to snow removal here. Side streets get cleared eventually, which leads to cars being plowed in, which leads to shoveling out, which leads to dibs. Call it the circle of winter life. Nothing happens to the alleys, as the woman with a grocery cart festooned with flashing bicycle lights and an incoherent sign barked loudly at the passersby near the Panda Express on Madison near Wabash.
9. The Negress isn’t crazy about the aftermath of a snowfall of any magnitude since the snow gets dirty and streaked with yellow. Also, as it melts, dog poo emerges since the lazy owners seem to the think that snow relieves them of their responsibility to clean up after their dog. Guess what people? Your dog may be relieved. You are not.
10. That big hank of snow on top of your car? No one wants it flying into their windshield, especially on the Dan Ryan at close to full speed. Use a broom people.