I get a lot of thinking done when I shovel. I suppose that is one reason I like to do it so much. Even when I now have a snow blower and a neighbor who gives me a very reasonable rate to clear the driveway if I didn’t want to. But it is good exercise and a very real opportunity for me to see that I’ve accomplished something.
I have a proclivity for laziness sometimes… or at least the tendency to lose my focus and not finish a project. Shoveling, much like cooking or rehearsing for a play means there is a fixed point in time and necessity for completion. I won’t be able to leave my house if I don’t clear the driveway. I won’t be able to get back up the driveway if I don’t clear it properly and leave bits of snow to melt and ice over. So I work very hard to finish what I begin.
I was thinking about that. How I do work very hard on the driveway. I’m probably the only one who has any appreciation for my accomplishment, but I am aware of the effort. Indeed, I make more of an effort to workout when there isn’t snow during the winter so my heart and muscles won’t hate me for it. I could use that other option – the snow blower (which is an effort) and make it a little easier on myself. Or, as I think of it, be lazier.
|Credit patries71 via Flickr Creative Commons|
Yes, I am one of those hippies who protests against modern conveniences. I don’t much care for machinery that pollutes the atmosphere in the name of a little ease and ‘extra’ time. I don’t really think that a cake mix from a box is easier or better than taking a few (really, it is a few) additional steps to make from scratch. But I also recognize I’ve constructed a lifestyle where those are acceptable uses of time. Someone else might see it differently, as one defender of leaf blowers argued to me that it allows more time with family. (Although it completely ignores the fact the noise pollution intrudes on other people’s conversations and time with family… but whatever.)
Anyway, as I pushed the slushy snow to the sides of my driveway and pulled up the tree branch that had split near the turnaround, I thought about these opinions of hard work versus lazy and how we choose to see if our time is well spent.
In a lot of recent political punditry there are arguments about the poor. How they are lazy because… they don’t get a decent job. Because, obviously, they are poor. Okay, that’s a trite sentence… but the expression seems that way to me. And I thought of all those people who complain about the lazy poor working two part time jobs and needing food stamps. Would they be the sort to shovel their own driveway? Or rake leaves? Or make a cake from scratch? Or empty the trash? Or scrub a toilet? I bet those part time jobs are hard work – a daily ritual of an effort like shoveling my driveway at minimum wage. And yet… it’s lazier than having a desk job where one can switch windows over to the internet or take an hour lunch?
We have a lot of disrespect for jobs that require physical labor. It asks too much of us to take time to do something. And because it takes time, it isn’t quick. So does that equate laziness?
Don’t we crave laziness though? As much as I love shoveling, the reward is sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. Getting through a long day at work justifies sitting in front of my fire with a glass of wine. In the summer people go to the beach and sit in the sun all day. Oh – wait – that’s not laziness. That’s leisure.
Anyway, shoveling does make me think about random things. It also wears me out so I lose that train of thought when I sit down to write about such things.
Maybe some day I will have the enthusiasm and level of focus for writing that I do for shoveling.
Now, I think I will indulge that lazy and enjoy this fire as it warms my toes.