T Minus 60 — Look out the widow. See that snow has stopped. Try to convince yourself that not enough has fallen to make shoveling worthwhile and that you can probably drive right through it. Hear neighbor spinning his wheels in the driveway after attempting to do just that.
T Minus 30 — Start searching for shoveling-appropriate garb.
T Minus 15 — WHERE THE HELL ARE SOME MITTENS? SERIOUSLY.
0:00 — Toddle outside with plastic shovel under arm. Feel like an overdressed Teletubby. Decide that you’ll do the bare minimum of shoveling; just wide enough to squeeze the car out.
0:05 — This isn’t so bad. Sure, the frigid air burns your lungs, but it’s a good burn. A bracing, life-affirming burn, even.
0:08 — Can no longer feel fingers, but sweat has begun to trickle down your back, freezing into icy rivulets under your three sweaters.
0:15 — Is that the distant rumble of a plow growing ever closer, chugging up the street on its single-minded mission to feed every newly-empty driveway mouth in its path with a super-sized serving of the white stuff? It can’t be. Refuse to accept that God could be so cruel as to undo all of your effort with a single plow pass.
0:17 — Oh, He could be. And He is. Compare self to Job. Consider weeping, but tears would only freeze to your face.
0:20 — Instead of shoveling fresh, virginal powder, you’re now digging away at the dirty, pebble-swirled piles that the plow has deposited at your feet. Note its resemblance to a slightly melted DQ soft-serve cake. Start questioning sanity.
0:22 — Feel a strange pulsing behind your right eye.
0.25 — What does a brain aneurysm feel like? Would you know if you were having one? How long do they last?
0:27 — Realize that if you die now, they will discover you face first in a dirty snow bank, clad in rubber boots, a lime green puffy parka from the heyday of Sun Ice and a wet pair of sweatpants with the faded outline of your alma mater’s sports dynasty stamped in Gothic script across the ass.
0:28 — Find the will to live.
0:30 — Wonder if alcohol would help. Fantasize about sipping heartily from a flask between shovelfuls and then possibly building a little fort to crawl inside to sleep it off.
0:45 — Decide this qualifies as today’s cardio. Tomorrow’s too, maybe.
0:50 — Triumphantly plunge shovel into snow bank for the last time and survey your snow-free, less snowed-in domain.
0:52 — Toddle your Teletubby self back into the house. Even though you live alone, cling to the vain hope that someone might have made you hot cocoa.
1:15 — Hear the distant rumble of the plow again. Weep.