Does snow make for kindness or kvetchiness?
Two stories, both prompted by the snow, one showing just how frayed people's nerves can get under these conditions, the other suggesting that tough times bring out the best in us. Give these a read and then come ahead with your own experiences in these snowy days--are you finding that people are stepping up and doing the right thing, or are they out to protect #1? We'd love to hear your tales of how neighbors and co-workers have responded to the difficult logistical challenges posed by the storms and their aftermath.
But first, the stories. The first comes from a reader, Jim Hahn, responding to Ian Shapira and Aaron Davis's piece in The Post today about folks who work hard to clear a parking space, only to find that some lowlife comes along and parks in it:
Returning home last night, we found a car parked in the spot in front of our house that I had spent hours clearing (we don't have off-street parking). While my wife waited in the car with the kids, I knocked on the neighbor's house to see if someone knew the owner of the vehicle, which I had never seen before, but to no avail. When checked the door of the parked car to see if I could find a phone number inside that would allow me to contact the owner, someone stirred in the car. When he rolled down the window, I explained that I had spent great effort clearing the spot and asked him to move, which he did with great displeasure.
This morning, when my wife went to take the baby to the doctor's office, she found four flat tires on the car, which the police confirmed had each been punctured by a knife.
Now, contrast that tale with one from Post reporter Michael Shear:
It was my first real outing in a week -- a quick trip to get some firewood and batteries, thanks to my neighbor, Frank, and his 4-wheel-drive Excursion.
Quick trip? Not really. The Home Depot in Annandale was out of firewood. And "D" batteries. And lanterns. And oil for Frank's oil lamps. Before leaving, I heard an employee answer the phone:
"Thank you for calling Home Depot, where we don't have firewood, snowblowers, snow shovels or ice melt -- can I help you?"
We made our way to the Whole Foods in Springfield, where we were assured they had firewood. Check. But no batteries. For that, we went to the Walgreens a few doors down. Check. But only one $2 flashlight left.
Feeling victorious enough, we headed home. As we turned into the one-lane road that led into our neighborhood, we saw an elderly woman, Ann, trying desperately to wheel a box full of groceries down the middle of the snow-packed road on a luggage dolly.
"Hop in," we said.
Little did she know that just before the turn to her street, one of our neighbors had decided to try and drive somewhere in his white Toyota Camry. He was now stuck in the middle of the road, unable to move and blocking the way.
As Frank and I struggled to push him back into his driveway, three other four-wheel-drive SUVs waited patiently, trying to head the other direction.
A byproduct of the record-breaking snow: civility has returned. People who would normally be cursing for being delayed by a minute or two were happy to wait. Another couple grabbed a shovel and headed over to help. One woman chatted on her cell phone.
As soon as the Camry was back in the driveway, however, a Cox Cable van managed to get stuck in the road as well. Forward. Backward. Forward. Backward. Finally, we managed to push him into a driveway on the other side of the road.
The poor grocery woman was still waiting in the back of Frank's SUV.
Finally, the road clear, we dropped off the woman, loaded her groceries onto her front porch, and headed home, turning once again onto the one-lane road into our subdivision.
All the while thinking: Another 10-20 inches?
Do you have a snow story to tell? Whether its message about human nature is encouraging or deflating, please do so on the comment boards below...
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