Friday, March 16, 2012

The Snow Ritual

On a Saturday night not too long ago I found myself walking to The Roosevelt for Meddle, a fantastic culinary exploration, executed by the delightful and imaginative chefs Tim Bereika (@sanzanobi) and Collin Wagner (@collinwagner.) The snow had long since begun to fall in the River City earlier that day, and to my great surprise and pleasure, it had stuck, transforming all into a scene nothing less than picturesque. Since The Roosevelt is only a few blocks away I usually walk. This time was no exception, though in this case I walked not despite, but because of the snow.


The walk was lovely. Tree branches occasionally had their little joke and dropped large clumps of slush onto my head. Cars and pedestrians, normally natural enemies, declared a temporary truce, understanding that sometimes stopping wasn't possible and neither was walking within a crosswalk. Dogs cantered about in yards, amazed that there could ever be a place so wonderful and edible. The few people I saw were eager to get inside their homes or into their cars. I don't think they really took the sightseeing attitude I had. It occurs to me now that I had more in common with the dogs than I did with the people. Something to consider later—sorry, tangent.

It was during the brief encounters with red cheeked, shivering people that I realized there seems to be a ritual was playing itself out on the streets of Church Hill. A Southern tradition of gallantry and snow clearing etiquette was on full display: The men, in their chivalry, clear the windows of snow while the women stand dutifully by on the curb and function as moral support.

 Not on this occasion, but on others, I've seen women just jump into the front seat, turn on the heat, and wave encouragingly through the cleared glass. Some even make "jokes" about how cold it must be outside the car. Perhaps it's just me, but I think it's immensely awkward to just climb into the car and luxuriate in the warmth and jam out to (insert a shitty Richmond radio station here,) while watching as someone hacks away at ice, brushing and scraping away at the snow, freezing their ass off, getting more soaked by the minute, and perhaps (worst case scenario,) experiencing mild chest pains. And that's nothing to say of the level of resentment that, consciously or subconsciously, is going through the roof somewhere between discovering the windshield wipers are frozen to the glass and somehow getting snow in one's pants.

Some men insist that the woman just get into the car, and that's very nice of them. Still, even if they've said, "No honey, just go ahead and get in," I still feel like I'm abusing their generosity or putting them through suffering for my benefit. It feels wrong and inconsiderate. Sometimes you can (and if you can, should,) help. But then again some guys are insulted by trying to assist in this very manly activity. (If you hear, 'I've got it!' this is your cue to back off with your hands raised.) If you can't pick up a brush or an ice scraper, dig in and help, then I say any woman worth her salt is honor bound to stand awkwardly beside the vehicle in the cold and snow, in shared suffering, and cheer on the clearing efforts. And maybe throw a snowball. Just don’t something you can't finish.

Feel free to bookmark this post for next winter, being that's it summer now.

Slightly related:


  1. Jess, you've hit on one of the TRUE Good Ole Boy rituals, right up there with stopping to change a tire---anybody's tire---running that sinister stranger in the eyeliner and spattered scrubs to the fillin' station and back with the gas can, and lifting an index-salute to everybody who passes his Chevy truck.

    Your writing is a perfect cross 'twixt your Mama and your Daddy---smart and erudite and witty, with just a teense of naughty to punctuate.

    And is that little Otis?

    ps This is the first time I've actually gotten in to your blog in ages---there's always a DANGER DANGER sign blocking my way.

    1. Aw, Rachel, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed!

      Not Otis, just a random pug, but Odie did love the snow! He thought it was God's buffet!

      I went ahead and changed an aspect on my page, so I think it's safe and sound for everyone!