Monday, January 29, 2007

if I ran the city, the series, #7: shoveled walks

I was out shoveling snow this morning and decided to do a little more than I had to and proceeded to clear the walk in front of the boardup next door. The pre-dawn Denison neighborhood looked great, as though everything were occupied again by people who were neat and industrious and considerate, people who had values and pride and self-respect, just like back in 1983. I also made it possible for my neighbors to use the sidewalk without slipping or sliding or struggling with an irregular frozen surface.

One of my main complaints for the past few years of my taking early morning walks around the city is that the public walkways are nearly impassable. Sidewalks on bridges have huge piles of snow and ice, and I feel like a mountain goat getting across. The sidewalk in front of and to the side of the church at 33rd and Denison is usually very unwelcoming because they shovel only from the parking lot to the church door, and I feel there sometimes like Don Ho or Dick Blake (sans clack stick, of course), doing slick dance routines with both feet firmly planted just to keep my balance.

I also was thinking about the recent TIWIDT move by Wendell Robinson, prompted by Jeff Hess and Henery Hawk, to do good deeds to raise the level of good karmic vibrations around these parts. Then I started thinking about how it's really never too late for anything, even to become a Boy Scout, and help people--as a pre-teen, I'd always been too terrified of their rumored circle activities to join.

Now, if I ran this city, I'd do what they do out in Bedford, for instance, and have a guy run around the whole city on some sort of little scooter/plow and keep all the sidewalks passable. But since I don't live in a city that puts the functionality of its own citizens first and doesn't seem to care too much about its own appearance, all I can do is to fill the gap until help shows up. And, I can do this by keeping my own space clear and also helping clear the areas that probably won't get cleared--in front of the boardups, in front of older peoples' homes, in front of the properties of the benighted investors who have been to Carleton Sheets seminars and taken them seriously.

I feel better already, and my arms are getting some tone back, and the neighborhood looks great.

Next on the agenda: overnight parking


  1. Shalom Tim,

    As an Eagle Scout I can tell you that you would have been relatively safe (there was the pacifier incident, but we won't go there).

    And at least no one had thought of Russian Toast yet.



  2. Tim you've hit on one of the things that my wife and I often lament about: thanking God there's snow on the ground to cover the general dreeriness of the neighborhood only to become irritated by the laziness of the numerous residents who don't shovel their walk.
    Keep shoveling yours and I'll keep shoveling mine.

  3. I am so happy to hear that someone else is shoveling! Why this Florida transplant likes shoveling is a mystery, but I do. There is a feeling of satisfaction in seeing the walks and driveway cleared. I like the rhythm that I fall into, scoop, toss, step -- repeat.

    I used to walk to work along Lee Road to the Stone Oven on wintry mornings. I found it astonishing that neither the city of Cleveland Heights nor the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District plowed the sidewalks near the High School along Lee Road. They plowed the side with the higher home values, but not the side where the kids who have to walk to school live. Regularly there would be kids walking in the street morning and afternoon. I called several times to complain. This is really a problem when CH police decide to clog the Juvenile Justice Center with jay walking offenders. If you don't want'em in the street, clear the sidewalks!!!

    Thank you, Tim, for modeling the behavior. I’ll think of you when I am out shoveling and breathing the crisp morning or evening air.

  4. Jeff, that Russian thing is just about beyond the pale. Wendell & Susan, thanks for validating my yearning for civility in the community, and to have it exemplified in thought, word, and deed.

  5. So, Tim, how's the old back now? I don't know about your neighborhood, but ours is frosty and there are 2 ft drifts in our driveway.
    I am taking a break for now after shoveling for an hours or so. If the old man puts on his boots, we might be able to put the chariot in the garage tonight.
    Happy shoveling!

  6. Susan--

    PART I: We just got back from Lancaster, PA at 0530, just a short while ago. I just finished digging out, at least for pedestians and deliveries. I am practicing bending my knees and using my arms and legs to lift. I'm also trying not to torque my back--I crashed and burned two Wednesdays ago down in Worthington, cornering in front of the elevator, did a sort of break dance, flipped over and landed on all fours.

    Basically, I feel sort of good--ich bin ein Clevelander, as JFK would have said.

    PART II: I just got done shoveling for the second time, 6 hours later, after PART I, and my enthusiasm is beginning to wane. This is getting to be a lot like work, but beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.