I love a good parade, don’t you, Chronic reader?
I bet you do.
Because, really. Who doesn’t love such excitement, such joie de vivre, that simply bursts out onto the street?
Except the clown part.
I can do without the clowns.
So we love parades. Okay.
I’m a celebratory person.
I love birthdays (ohmygosh birthdays!).
I love holidays (ohmygosh holidays!).
I love milestones (ohmygosh go you!).
I love goals achieved (ohmygosh woohoo!).
If there is some <event, moment, thing in general> that I can take and wrap it in a package of excitement and then hug it and feed it cake, I will do so.
Unfortunately, not everyone is like that.
(This is the part where I face-palm and yell, “Why the heck not?!” into the vast abyss that is the universe. It’s so much fun and we have cake here in ParadeLand! What’s not to like??)
I found this out the hard way this past week.
In case you hadn’t heard, it snowed on the East Coast of the United States.
Like, a lot.
Can’t see out the windows!
We got about 30 inches, give or take an icicle. Reference: I am 65 and ¾ inches tall.
We do not usually get this much snow.
The DC metropolitan area hates snow more than anything in the world, more than anyone in the world could hate anything.
I know I tend to exaggerate, but that is not an exaggeration. The District and its surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia have pretty much been closed for an entire week. No one goes to work, no one goes to school, and you better have bought 92 boxes of cheerios in the pre-storm rush on supermarkets, because no one is going out until all traces of frozen water particles are gone.
However, despite our collective hate for all things frozen (unless there is a snow queen singing about it-we hate it), in the spirit of the hometown of our National Government, we also really hate to miss an opportunity to fine people for things.
Like say, not having their sidewalks shoveled within 24 hours of the last snowflake’s gentle tumble to Earth.
Now, I love my sidewalks. They are excellent parade routes, especially when it’s a good day and I am running, but even if it’s a bad day and all I’m able to do is walk to the mailbox at the end of the block.
Scene: It’s Monday. Technically, the last snowflake fell 48 hours ago, but because that snowflake brought 9 bazillion of its closest friends with him to town, the city has allowed the extra time to clear the sidewalk. (Cranky side-note: Funny, no one fines the city for not plowing the actual streets within 24 hours of the snow’s end…) The only thing that has been shoveled at my house is a tiny path from my neighbor’s driveway to my front door. I was a
baby smart and stayed with my mom who has a Costco membership (Translation: TONS OF CHEERIOS) for the impending doomsday. Now that I’m home, it’s time to be a responsible, adult, home-renting person and clean up my snow.
By the way, I live on the corner lot.
And did I mention that the total snow amount was roughly half my height?
This is what side A looked like before:
2 hours, 2 liters of water, 2 pairs of socks, and 2 shirt changes due to excessive perspiration later, this is what side A looked like after:
Sidewalk ends at the telephone pole in the distance.
Side B only has an after picture:
My sidewalk goes to just past the foreground tree.
And I did it all by myself.
The whole time, I was choosing mental markers (I’m going to get to the stop sign. I’m almost to the telephone pole.) and was literally saying out loud stuff like, “I can do this!” “I’m almost done!”
The fact that it was all monotone ice-colored, coupled with the fact that I had to spend some time trying find the sidewalk before I could shovel it out (sorry, grass!), it felt like it was never going to end and that I would keel over and lose my fingers and toes and nose to hypothermia before they found me, Ice-Man of the Alps-style, sometime in spring.
And then, surprisingly, it was done.
I jumped up and down.
I am pretty sure I made some audible vocalizations that sounded a lot like, “Yes! Yes! Yes! I conquered you, snow!” and then delirious laughter.
In short, I threw myself a parade, right there in the snow.
Now, being a celebratory person is more fun when you have other people around, and this is where I learned that hard lesson about not everyone being as celebratory-inclined as I am.
Here I am, jumping up and down in my shovel-width path of a sidewalk, and I instinctively look around. I want to tell people about my success, gosh darn it.
Well, everyone who is out is under their own pile of snow. Some people haven’t started yet, some people are midway, some people are giving up and going back inside for cocoa, and some are watching their loved one do it while they hang out on the other side of the screen door calling out, “You missed a spot!” every once and a while.
No one gives a rat’s patoot (that’s it’s rear end, in case you didn’t know) that I have just done this wonderful, amazing thing. Don’t they know who I am? (Um, no, actually. I know like 4 neighbors, tops.) Don’t they know what I have been through? (Really, no. Not exactly what you follow “Hi, I’m your new neighbor!” with.) Can’t they see that this is a HUGE DEAL?
I MEAN, I SHOVELED MY SIDEWALK WITHIN 48 HOURS OF THE #SNOWTASTROPHE…
…just like every home-owning, home-renting person within a 20 mile radius is supposed to be doing right about now.
Isn’t this just a great Chronic-life metaphor?
I thought so, too.
You see, this happens all the time in Chronicville. You are going along, just trying to get somewhere, see a little progress, do a little better. Then you have a Moment- you do something you haven’t been able to do in a while, or you accomplish something that is so, so hard.
At least it is for you.
It’s the greatest feeling, and you want to shout to the rooftops! (Hey, Universe! I did the dishes! I went grocery shopping! I showered today! I’m wearing actual pants!)
But sometimes, people are too busy shoveling their own sidewalk to notice that you shoveled yours.
See what I did there?
Hold on tight as we come around full circle…
This is exactly the reason why I advocate Self-Parades. That thing you did? It was awesome! You should be so proud of you! Whatever it was, big or small, even if it was something most people consider “normal” or “routine”- that was HUGE for you and you DESERVE the highest praise.
So give it to yourself already, Chronic friend. Don’t wait for anybody else to notice, because your moment is now.
Jump up and down.
Bake a cake.
Have a dance party.
Buy yourself a present.
Post about it on Facebook and shamelessly collect the compliments from your Chronic friends! Or post it on my Facebook page and shamelessly collect the compliments that I will shower on you!
Just don’t let the moment go without a little celebration 🙂
You can always build a friend to share your snow success with!