I fired my snowplow guy. He always showed up late and was a thief. He said he didn’t get my payment in the mail, so I gave him a second check. He cashed both checks. Did he think I wouldn’t look at my bank account? I yelled (to myself), “This guy is stupid!” I do my bookkeeping in a spare bedroom. I own apartment buildings, some with parking lots.
I don’t want to think about snow removal. It should just happen—at a fair price. My previous snowplow guy showed up before daybreak and pushed mini-Matterhorns into tight corners. He had a jeep and a pickup. He had tools. He retired.
I told my disreputable snowplower, “What you did was thievery.” He mumbled something about the postal service and asked for a second chance. I hired a new guy. He plows for the YMCA. That’s solid, if true. I didn’t call any references. I’m stupid, too, but like I said, I don’t like thinking about snow removal.
The new plower said, “You think we’ll get any more snow?” It was a clear day.
“You’re from Cleveland,” I said. “You know it can snow on St. Patrick’s Day. It can snow on Opening Day [which used to be in April].” In Cleveland, we have our own vocabulary for snow, like Eskimos: “snow belt,” “lake effect.” Cleveland is the third-snowiest major city in the United States, after Rochester and Buffalo.
I frequently play clarinet at a nursing home and give weather reports to the residents. I tell them what’s happening outside. I might say, “I’d like to go bike-riding today. Has anybody been outside? It’s sunny!” Cleveland is the fifth-grayest major city in the United States. I once ate my breakfast cereal with a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light on. It was like a klieg light. Too bright for a Clevelander.
It’s snowing right now. I could ride a stationary bike. That’s depressing—riding indoors. Comic book artist R. Crumb, who worked in Cleveland for several years at American Greetings Corp., once described Cleveland residents as a “population abandoned to their fate, left to freeze their ass off, standing in the dirty winter slush, waiting for a bus that is a long time coming. Somehow they go on living.” Yes, somehow we do.
Spring can’t come too soon. Neither can the snowplow guy.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images