The American Heritage Dictionary defines neighborly as “having or exhibiting the qualities of a friendly neighbor”. Notice that the word friendly is there.

We live in a corner house. Except for our elderly though energetic next door neighbors we know few people in the area other than to say hi despite living here for 13 years. For the third time in our thirteen years one of our neighborly neighbors turned us into the city. Our crime? Not clearing off the ice on the sidewalks to the front and side of our house.

Now I too might become peeved if I had to walk on ice. However, for those of you who have not been living in Chicago this year, this was one of the snowiest and coldest winters ever. I have already spent hours shoveling, I have used over 250 pounds of salt and I have chopped ice when I could. After one storm I was clearing ice off our sidewalk in 4 degree weather. I have not been able to keep up.

While in Mexico a couple of weeks ago it snowed and froze. It snowed more right after we returned. The ice was 1.5-2 inches thick.  Were some of the walks in my area clean? Absolutely. However the side streets and alleys are still ice covered. Did anyone come by and ask us directly to do something? No. Is that expecting too much? Maybe. Did anyone come by to see if we were OK? No.

So yesterday I get a call at 5 pm from my wife saying she found a form from the city saying we had until 2 pm the next day to clear our walks. 24 hours notice–assuming the occupants don’t work like we do. My son and a friend started working right away. I left work early, for me anyway, but did not get home until 7 and worked continuously until 9.

By that time we cleared ice from over 100 square feet of sidewalk. A few pockets remained but by then I was dripping with sweat, exhausted, my hands were numb and I had broken the ice chopper my dad had lent me. As I tried in vain to hold a fork in order to eat dinner I joked that I was losing my humanity, my opposable thumbs no longer worked.

Speaking of humanity, I know that I am asking alot but I would hope that someone who thought we should have had our walks cleared would have at least come to the door to first find out if we were OK or needed help. I believe that I would. I might even offer to lend a hand. It is a shame that we are at the point where we are so focused on our own needs and that we so easily find fault with others.  

Isn’t love thy neighbor written in some book?  

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

2 Responses to Neighborly

  1. Frank says:

    Jagoffs….anonymous jagoffs. Man, that is backbreaking…and nuts. Right, the city rides you, but does nothing to meet their own obligation. And I could do with no neighbors. Ugh.

  2. 48facets says:

    It is funny because a few days before I was talking to a client who loved his neighbors. Not me.

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