Every once in a while I have simply got to rant a little about civilization. There's a reason I live out in the wilderness. Yeah, it's harder to live there in a way. Things aren't quite as convenient as they are in town, but really, it's only hard to get used to at first, it's most assuredly not hard once you've passed that hurdle.
I arrived here in Eagle River Saturday before last and over the last week plus I have been monopolizing my son's time driving me around all over the place to find this and that wherever it may be until I finally got almost everything on my list. It's been so crazy (in a way) I haven't really had much of a chance to just look around.
All in all, Eagle River is a nice little town. My last experience with spending any time in town was when I went up to Fairbanks to get my book published. You can find my spring rant here. I don't know, maybe it's because of all the snow this year. Fresh snow always makes things look prettier. All the yuck generally drifts to the surface as the snow melts.
Speaking of 'all the snow', for some time now, it's been all over the news to the point of even being a point in local politics. There's not enough money to pay the guys that plow the streets and there's nowhere to dump all the snow anyway. I went for a little walk today all by myself and discovered a brand new layer of snow all over everything. Everything except the roads, streets and lanes are all pretty and white again.
Two or three inches of new snow is certainly no obstacle to walk through, but it got me to thinking. In my little half hour jaunt I saw absolutely no one outside on this really nice day shoveling or even sweeping the snow off of any sidewalks. Okay so some of my chosen path was across parking lots or maybe down streets that didn't go in front of any shops, but still. If everyone is so concerned with all the snow or the snow removal, why isn't anyone out there contributing their two cents worth? Once was the day when shop owners were outside keeping the front of their store clean and neat, not to mention chatting with passers by. It was a far more basic concept than keeping the sidewalk clean - friends will go shopping at stores run by people they know and like. Where has that feeling gone? Poof, with the explosion of civilization, this was lost and we didn't even know it was missing.
But I digress. Back to your two cents. If everyone is so concerned with all this snow being hazardous, why isn't anyone out there shoveling off the sidewalks? It wouldn't take much. And not to toss it off onto the street either. Snow from the sidewalks tossed up on the lawn isn't going to hurt it much, whereas they are always spreading salted gravel or some chemical to melt the snow onto the streets. Who knows what that does to the lawn, and I won't even mention getting all that gravel out of the grass once the snow has melted.
The plows will come by and scrape snow and ice off the street onto the sidewalks and then they will go by again and scrape that off further onto the yards. They can get that stuff hauled off from the bigger streets but not everywhere. At least that's what I see everywhere I've been. And since there has been really quite a lot of snow this year, rather large piles of snow has developed in some rather dangerous locations forcing drivers pulling out of some lane or parking lot to edge out a little far in order to see if someone is coming. Yeah, most everyone has been either the person pulling out of the parking lot or the person they're trying to look for, so everyone watches for this, but it's no guarantee. My son just had his car totaled because someone pulled out right into the side of his car and shoved it into a meridian pole. The pole was taken completely out and my son's car was mushed in on both sides. Fortunately, no one was injured. Also fortunately my son had a vehicle to fall back on so he can still get to work.
Ach, I've digressed again. Rants can be that way, you know. The entire point of this is, if everyone contributed their two cents either to creating some emergency fund (and I'm not talking about a tax) to make it possible to pay the over time or hire more guys to plow the streets, or simply get out there and do a little shoveling themselves, especially in bad places like mentioned above (we all know where those places are), wouldn't things be just a little better? Wouldn't everyone who has to slog through a few inches of snow to get to wherever they're going be just a little happier? Ah but I suppose if things were a little more walk-friendly, people would drive less and therefore spend less money on gas, and we can't have that, now, can we. Gas prices are climbing again and yet I do believe I heard somewhere that the price of oil is not going up. Hmmm I better stop. I've made my point for this post. I really shouldn't digress too often. So get out there once in a while and do a little work yourself rather than complain that the other guy isn't doing it good enough or soon enough or often enough. Go for a walk to the store and buy yourself a soda as a reward. Pick up a piece of trash from the street and get it to a trash can. I did. You can do it too. Wave at your neighbor while you're at it; you might discover he's a pretty nice guy.