Wednesday, February 2, 2011



For a northern city like Chicago the snowfall this morning was respectable, though not the worst I’ve ever seen. Fortunately I awoke in my condo cozy and warm thanks to the steam radiator system. I only say I was fortunate because some people woke up in their cars, still strung out on Lake Shore Drive LSD from the night before (it’s a terrible drug, really). And so my day began:

Judging by the state of the “snow ravaged” street below it’s clearly going to be a long day of shoveling. A task that always seems fun (how hard can it be?!) right up until the first shovel-full when comes the creeping realization that snow is heavy, the drift you’re digging through is four-freakin’-feet deep for a distance of fifteen feet, and your single shovel-full has barely chewed through one cubic foot of it!

Standing there in my pajamas pondering all of this I notice a bunch of female neighbors emerge from their condos and begin attacking the snow with abandon, as if their hearts will never explode from the exertion. “I see what you’re doing ladies, guilt the men into digging out before they want to the snow has even stopped falling eh?!” Damn your sense of purpose!


Wait a second! I have a snow blower I’ve not used in eight years. I’ll go get some gas (‘cause 8 year old gas isn’t gonna cut it), fire it up, and chew through all this snow in no-time. We’ll see who has a sense of purpose!

Since I’m gonna have to hoof it to the gas station as the city has yet to clear the streets around here, I review my disaster preparedness checklist (um... SNOWMAGGEDON... duh! society as we know it has fallen apart. Getta hold of yourself man! There are no snowplows, and they aren’t coming for us! We’re just going to have to survive!)

parka - Check!
snow boots - Check!
gas can - Check!
Bowie knife to defend against roving bands of CHAD (Cannibalistic Humanoid Apartment Dwellers) - Check!

Off I go braving the hundred miles half mile of frozen wasteland that stands between my home and the local gas station. The crew of lady neighbors digging out the gatehouse ask me where I’m going to which I reply, “West.” I feel like Eli except I’m not blind, I’m not religious, and the Bowie knife I’m carrying is only make-believe.


I actually do walk in the street, the snow is less deep there. It’s all very surreal; I’m IN the city, it’s quiet, and there are no cars on the road (other than those buried to their roofs in snow). There’s a snow-blown haze preventing visibility past a quarter mile, and there are people (actual people) milling about in the streets. They’re taking pictures, talking with neighbors, and observing the novelty of it all. The architect in me wonders aloud (in my mind), could it be Chicago has been rendered a truly pedestrian city overnight?! Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures of the scene on account that It wasn’t on my disaster preparedness checklist (a camera’s not going to help fight off hordes of CHAD).


I finally arrive at the gas station, and ask the clerk to activate a pump.

CK: Pumps aren’t working, no gas.

ME: What, you have no gas at all?!

CK: Unless you want “Ultimate.”

ME: Dude I need gas, I'm on foot in a freakin' blizzard, and I'm only buyin' a gallon, it's not going to break the bank. I’ll take it!

I arrive back home after hours twenty minutes of trekking the wasteland. The ladies have done an impressive job of clearing the gatehouse doors, and are beginning to look winded (I’ve already said it, snow is freakin’ heavy). I make the fuel mixture, fill the tank, pull the cord, and the snow blower sputters to life. We’re all ecstatic it starts as easily as it does. Me, the lady neighbors, and the two neighbors flanking the property (having the only snowblower on the block, in a blizzard, makes you everybody’s friend).

Five hours later the walks are clear, my clothes are soaked, and I can still feel the vibrations of the snowblower in my arms. Maybe I’ll be sore tomorrow, we’ll have to see.