Plough on through

I just don’t understand why people are intentionally mean at times.

The back entrance to my building’s parking area is at the end of an access road about 75 metres long. The two lanes are separated by a boulevard. The accumulated snow forms small enclosing walls that make the lanes narrower than they really are.

Upon my return from seeing Atonement with Tanya, I chose to use this entrance to get into the parking structure. I drove half way down the access road when I noticed a backhoe reversing toward me. Fine, they’re clearing the snow. I can’t get around the backhoe so how far is he going to reverse? He came right up to me, and it was clear he wanted me to back up as well. His stopping only when the backhoe’s bucket was positioned over my hood was a pretty clear indication that he wanted me to back up. So I did. After about ten metres, he stopped and started moving forward. I moved forward. A minivan approached from behind me and moved forward as well. The backhoe stopped and needed to back up again. We all backed up.

After repeating this once more, the minivan driver sounded his horn in annoyance. I empathized. Given that I’d traversed a portion of the access road three times, surely the backhoe driver would move ahead and let us by. He did, but he was a dick about it. What he did was push the snow ahead with the loader, then pull to the side. This left a substantial barrier of snow, with the backhoe positioned to prevent me from skirting the barrier.

I had two choices. Most would have not decided the way I did. I was in no mood to dance so off I went to meet a metre-high snow barrier. As I approached, everything slowed down. I noted that the opening between the backhoe on the left and the wall of snow on the right was narrower than I’d estimated. I steered to the right so I wouldn’t sideswipe the backhoe. Not too far right, because contact with the wall of snow could throw me to the left into the backhoe, or auger the front into the wall and rotate the rear to impact the backhoe and wedge me into place.

I made it through the gauntlet however, with only the snow barrier ahead. Given the short distance I had to accelerate and the slippery snow on the road preventing me from simply punching the accelerator hard, I got a good momentum going. This was fortunate because just before contact, I imagined making it half way through, only to get my car hung up on the snow. The tool of a backhoe driver would no doubt be amused at my failure and also pissed because I’d be stuck there preventing him from getting on with his task.

As my car impacted the barrier, I wondered if the bodywork would survive intact. If not, would some plastic crack or would some be torn completely away? The momentum I had was not excessive as I came out the other side moving quite a bit slower. The barrier was taller than I’d estimated because despite my car having been entirely clean of snow a moment earlier, my hood was covered not only in snow, but big chunks of snow on the way to becoming crystallized ice. As I drove away, I saw no sign of the minivan. Whether he thought better of it, or simply delayed for a moment before following, I don’t know.

I parked in my spot and got out to have a look. There was snow everywhere. Even the small chasm the windshield wipers call home when they’re not in use was full of snow. After seeing the snow packed into the grille, I went inside and came back with my camera.

IMG_4839.CR2: 30D, EF-S 10-22mm 1:3.5-4.5 @ 10mm, 1/50, f/3.5, 800 ISO

IMG_4839.CR2: 30D, EF-S 10-22mm 1:3.5-4.5 @ 10mm, 1/50, f/3.5, 800 ISO

So why was the backhoe driver such a tool? Could he not see that anyone coming up the access road would have no warning of the snow removal in progress? Further, anyone coming up the access road would likely lack the ability to read minds and therefore not know how many times he would need to back up and move forward again. If anything, they should’ve had someone right at the entrance to the access road to stop the lead car until the way was clear. Being more understanding would have helped, as would not intentionally arranging things to give me the choice between doing something stupid, or doing nothing at all … either of which could’ve resulted in him getting even more pissed off.

He’s going to have hypertension problems someday, if he doesn’t already.

Do note that the temperature was slightly above freezing, and the snow had road salt mixed into it. By the time I returned with my camera, a surprising amount of snow had already slid off the hood. One larger splat is visible at the lower right. Others are just outside the bottom of the frame.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 8, 2008 at 08:04 | Permalink

    I would certainly complain to the building management about this. Unfortunately, the world seems full of jerks some days. :-/

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