friends doing things slowly
Sunday, December 15 2013
Yesterday's snowstorm had left a good eight to ten inches on the ground and then covered it with a thin crust of something like sleet (though temperatures had never risen out of the 20s). Since both Gretchen and Sarah the Korean (who is not Korean) had to leave at around noon, it was important to get started on shoveling out the driveway as soon as I was out of bed. It took me about an hour to clear the entire thing, though I had a little help from Gretchen and Sarah. Sarah does everything very slowly, and so I probably shoveled about ten times as much snow as she did even though she worked at it nearly as long as I did.
Back in the house, Gretchen had anticipated our caloric needs and made us coffee, smoothies, and (for me) an enormous burrito containing some of the chili I'd made last night. I was so hot from all the work of shoveling that I had nothing covering my upper torso except a fresh teeshirt, having removed all the sweaty layers. This was despite the fact that I let the fire languish and temperatures in the house were in the low 60s.
Before she left, Sarah thought she'd was the dishes, and though there were only about three or four dishes in the sink, this nevertheless took her about 20 minutes. It kills me a little inside to see a guest washing dishes; their heart is in the right place, but knowing all that steaming water is going down the drain, most of it never to pass anywhere near a dish, is to know fossil fuels are being burned for nothing. When I wash dishes, I usually do it in cold water, and I'm careful to turn off the faucet when I'm doing something that doesn't require water. Gretchen is nearly as conscientious as me (though she uses hot water), but I've never seen anyone else wash dishes who wasn't unthinkingly wasteful. It shows how shallow the culture of conservation is in America; if our lefty friends don't conserve resources as a matter of habit, who exactly does?
Later when Sarah headed off to her car to leave, I thought she'd be gone within a minute or two. But I looked out fifteen minutes later and saw her fussing around, poking little bits of snow off her windows and rearview mirror. When she finally climbed into her car and started it, she immediately gave up and climbed out again. Apparently it was stuck. I couldn't bear it; I went out with my shovel and cleared the tracks for her tires a bit more, but what she ultimately needed was a push. And then she was on her way.
I realized that Gretchen and I have accumulated a fairly large number of friends (all of them women) who are, in various ways and to various degrees, exasperatingly slow. Tara talks too slowly. Nancy cooks too slowly. Sarah the Korean does her chores too slowly, and she's also habitually late. I suspect Sarah the Vegan is slow too, but in her case it might be more that she's helpless.
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