Perpetuating the Myth That I am Crazy
Today I had to dig out the car. Well, the car was in the garage, but I had to dig out the driveway. I spent nearly an hour looking for the snow shovel. I didn’t find it and I went up the street and borrowed my neighbor’s. She was kind and generous with her snow shovel. I trudged back down the street. On the way I saw her neighbor. He’s my neighbor too, just further from me than from her, which is probably all for the best. He said, “You gonna dig out?” I said, “No, no, what would make you think that?” He smiled and blinked at me. I smiled and blinked back. I wondered if he would continue, you know…answer my question, ’cause I was in the mood for more of this. So, I just stood there in my boots and my big coat and my hat and gloves, two pairs, and holding a snow shovel, just smiling and waiting. Like it was a conversation rather than a bit of neighborly bullshit after a storm. “Sure did come down out there, didn’t it?!” “Boy, makes you want to be a kid again.” Another neighbor said that to me yesterday, the one about wanting to be a kid again. I said, “No. It doesn’t. I was an immigrant child. We weren’t allowed out in the snow.” And then I just did the smiling and blinking thing.
This was true. We were not allowed out in the snow. Because it would be cold. The risk of pneumonia, frostbite, gangrene, malaria, genital herpes, who knew what could be living out there in that snow. Spores. Just waiting for the warmth of our innocent bodies to come to life, breed and spawn inside the swaddling of our bundled bodies. My neigbhor also just smiled and blinked. I know they think I’m crazy. I’m perpetuating that myth. It keeps it quiet during the day and there are fewer “playdates.”
But this other guy, my neighbor’s neighbor, he’s a bold one. He answers me, he says, “Well…the shovel.” So I looked down at my shovel and said, “What this? This isn’t to dig out. This is for the fish tank.” And his mouth actually opened, which was what I was going for. I smiled and batted my eyes, prettily I hoped, and said, “Bye then!” And continued down to the house.
And the only problem then was that he was still out there and he had stopped his own digging out to watch me walk back down the street, which was a problem, because I really needed to dig out, but I kind of liked the whole concept of the fishtank needing the snow shovel. My writer’s mind was whirring with the details. Like…obviously this is a HUGE fishtank and perhaps it even has small sharks in it. And what on earth would have happened that would make me need a snow shovel for sharks…a dead shark maybe? Maybe to break up a shark fight? Anyway, I liked the idea and so I liked the idea of my neighbor’s neighbor really wondering about it. And I knew the whole tale would unravel and I would just look mean spirited or even crazy in a bad way if I simply got to work on my driveway. So you see how I had gone and gotten myself in a situation. What a tangled web we weave… So I went inside and spent the next hour or so watching through the window for him to leave his driveway, but he was just working and working like a dog out there. I’m not sure about him; it seemed a little excessive.
I considered calling a service to come do the driveway, but that struck me as a bit much to perpetuate both the shark myth and the myth that I am crazy but in a good way. So instead, I just waited until nightfall, when I knew he would be inside eating or sleeping or something, and dug out the driveway in the dark.