taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Monday, February 17, 2003

When I woke up this morning, it was still snowing. I opened the front door and snow fell into the foyer. I let the dog out--What do I do? he implored with his big doggy eyes. The snow was thirty inches deep.

Last night we went to the neighbors. These neighbors have children, like us, and prodigious amounts of alcohol, unlike us. Naturally we'd been caught unprepared, and what's more important to have in a snowstorm--toilet paper or a case of beer? Well, the neighbors had vodka and congac and red and white wine and a case of beer and a fire, and the children ran around like maniacs while we drank ourselves silly and ate pot pie with a Bisquick crust. Snowstorms cause women to find their inner casserole. We didn't talk about much--the storm and the kids and the war, and we looked at some old photos. We though for sure it would be over by the morning.

The snow finally wound down around noon, and the neighborhood woke up. Tom, down the street, was shovelling for hours before anyone else got out there--he had the minivan completely clear and most of the driveway. When he saw me eyeing the Passat under two tons of snow, he spoke like a Zen master: "Stop looking at the big picture, Claire," he said sagely. "Just move some snow from one place to another." I took his advice and it actually helped.

Nick was out there too, digging furiously and, it seemed, throwing more snow into the air than into the yard. He and I sang songs to pass the time, and I realized I don't know all the words to Bitchin' Camaro. Our childless yuppie neighbors walked by without a care in the world--who needs to dig, after all, if you're not stuck in the house with children and need an excuse to get out?

The famous pianist was out there too, with his wife, digging out their Volvo, and Nick went to help. The famous pianist is easily seventy-five years old, and has already had career-stalling, widely-reported trouble with his hands, which I now think may be caused by repeatedly digging out the damn Volvo. Nick saved the day, though, and they gave us a six pack of Asahi for his troubles. And then Jen and Greg stopped by with two bottles of wine, just out of the goodness of their hearts. So we've finally got enough alcohol to get us through.

And I'm making a quiche, because I had pie crusts and eggs and little else, and so I think my inner casserole is coming out too. I bet they'll open the damn office tomorrow, that would be just like them--the whole place is staffed by people who, I suspect, don't like to face their families too often or for too long.

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