We are comfortable.
I don't mean just in terms of the blizzard that has put our state and surrounding ones into a State of Emergency. In that regard, yes, we are very comfortable. We have heat and plenty to eat. We have electricity and Internet access. We live in an upper middle class neighborhood, as you can probably surmise from the photos on my previous post.
But it's more than that.
All of this comfortability is still new enough for us to make it feel uncomfortable. It wasn't always like this. Neither of us grew up with silver spoons (far from it), and ever since our teenage years, both The Dean and I have worked damn hard for a lifestyle that, now in so many ways, feels like it could evaporate like snowflakes.
There are times, such as last night, when that feeling shows up literally on one's doorstep.
Our doorbell rang last night at 8:45 p.m. The Dean answered it, and standing there in 20" of snow was the guy who has appeared, faithfully, after each snowstorm this winter. He is a friend of the guy who cuts our lawn, and has been helping him out with an avalanche of snow removal needs this season by shoveling the driveways of people like us.
Tony is a scruffy, scrawny, scraggly character, beaten around the edges inside and out. It's evident that life has treated him very, very differently than it has us.
And yet, Tony shows up in the dark, apologizing profusely through a slurred cadence that might be part of these parts or the effects of something imbibed, for not making it over to our house sooner.
Tony explained his tardiness - which required none, given the blizzard conditions - by saying that he works at a chain restaurant (that I'll keep unnamed). One with a local owner that spit in the face of the State of Emergency we are currently under. Despite the State of Emergency and the ban on driving throughout the state, Ebenezer Scrooge demanded that Bob Crachit report to work. (The restaurant in question is 10 miles from Tony's home - "across the railroad tracks that way" - and yesterday, as even Hummers and fire trucks were getting stuck in the snow, foot power was the only way around ... barely.)
Standing on our steps in the dark, Tony asked for a raise from the $25 we usually pay him. Maybe $30 this time, he suggested, given the amount of snow? More than fair, The Dean answered. (We wound up giving him $40, wishing that it could have been ten times more.)
Shovel in hand, Tony began digging out our driveway. Without a snowblower, he might as well have been clearing it by hand. At 11:30 p.m, just shy of three hours since he started, Tony trudged home (or to another driveway, I don't know). He says he'll be back to check in today, after his morning shift at the restaurant.
Because since Ebenezer apparently considers Tony an essential employee, he has ordered Tony back among the Biscuit Bowls and BoBurritos first thing this morning. Because all of us trapped in our homes will need such provisions. I get the sense that calling in sick or achy because of snow shoveling at midnight is most definitely not an option for Tony.
There for but the grace of God go we, I thought, watching Tony walk off into the frigid night, heading for the railroad tracks.
The glint of the moonlight shining on the shovel over his shoulder.
"In this life, some have better opportunities to develop God's character. Others have greater intelligence or natural abilities. God will apply the principle of "to whom much is given, much is required" with perfect fairness." Luke 12:18
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.