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What looked helpful was just me helping myself

December 27, 2016

Part of the path I cleared down a sidewalk and into a parkade…for my bike and trailer.

At 9 p.m. on Boxing Day—after hours of light snow—a few pedestrians on a Fairview side street were happily surprised to find that someone was clearing the long sidewalk adjacent to a business property.

As I slowly scraped the wet snow from the sidewalk, working my way northward from the corner at 8th Avenue and down the slope toward 7th Avenue, several people thanked me as they made their way by. These people had trudged through a block of hardly-disturbed, thick wet snow from West Broadway Avenue and then across the treacherous churned-up slushy morass of 8th Avenue and they were grateful for the dry respite of even 6 metres of bare concrete.

With my work boots, work pants, work gloves, and big carabiner key ring, they may well have mistaken me for a building custodian—unremarkable save for the fact that I was working on a legal holiday.

That, in place of a shovel, I was using what appeared to be a big wicker box was not taken amiss by any of them. Perhaps, they thought that it was something new, that tradespeople used.

In fact, I was using a big wicker box—one that was woven over a steel wire frame, which I had fished out of a nearby dumpster.

However, I wasn’t using my makeshift shovel in an effort to be neighbourly. And I wasn’t doing it for the building owners whose parkade I sleep in.

I was clearing all the snow off the sidewalk so that I would have an easier time getting my bike and trailer back up the hill in the morning

As such, I didn’t even clear the sidewalk all the way to the northern edge of the property—just to the mouth of the parkade where I sleep. Then I turned my efforts east and cleared a path through the snow on the parkade’s asphalt apron for a little over a metre, until I reached the bare concrete of the covered parkade proper.

After I returned the wicker box to the dumpster where I had originally found it, I made ready for bed, a bit wet in the pants but otherwise comfortable in the knowledge that I had done all that I could in order make my life a little easier come morning, come what may.

And so it worked out first thing this morning, with the snow sticking stubbornly almost everywhere except where I had cleared my trailer-wide path.

If I didn’t give myself a little pat on the back it was only because I needed both hands to roll the bike and trailer up the slope. Click the image to enlarge it.

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