Whenever I have my mind set on doing or accomplishing something, there is always that one person who wants to dissuade me from my goal. This person is known as The Pessimist, the “NO” person, the guy who loves to say that you can’t. It is an increasingly obvious annoyance, one that I’m used to handling by formulating a plan and carrying it out. Some people are just natural at trying my patience by never being satisfied or growing more insistent about the reasons behind their disapproval. Most of the time, I can ignore it because I am the opposite. Most of the time, but not yesterday.
This Friday into Saturday, the east coast had a snow storm which turned to mild hail and sleet. The ground on Saturday afternoon had a nice white coat of snow atop an inch of solid ice. Lately, feeling like the she-woman that I am, coupled with my Wonder Woman fantasies, I decided to go about tackling the large sidewalk in front of my building. I grabbed a shovel eagerly determined to take on the task. Across the street, I saw others doing the same thing: a two-person team of men and a few local alcoholics attempting to earn enough money from shoveling to knock a few brews down at the local pub. Being the born optimist, I devised my plan: spread some salt on the path I was going to forge and chop through the ice square foot by square foot until I was done. So I grabbed the salt and spread it all out. I saw that it was good. Then, I grabbed the shovel and began to chop when all of a sudden, some village idiot stepped out of the bar to have a smoke.
Here’s some of the gems that came out of his mouth:
“You ain’t never gonna get to the bottom of that.” Really? Watch me.
“There’s about an inch and a half of ice underneath.” Thank you, stater-of-the-obvious.
“I tried to do the front of my house down there, and couldn’t do it.” Because you were probably looking for an excuse to go to the bar.
“Don’t even try, you’re wasting your time…” And what are YOU doing at the bar, you over-achiever you?
…’Cause you’re a girl, I heard him say even though the words never escaped his lips. I even detected a hint of laughter and you know what that meant, dontcha? Heh. That meant I had to complete that path even if it killed me. It meant that I had to show the village idiot that all it took was a little elbow grease and a double-X chromosome to get done what a man couldn’t. My honor was at stake here. You can see that, can’t you?? I know you can.
So under my breath (like some crazed fanatic) I chopped away at the ice reciting mantras to myself and affirmations like: ‘An inch of ice only?! Is that all you got?!’ and ‘You gotta do it in pieces, that’s all.’ Soon, I could see the pathway coming to life. I worked slowly, painstakingly so as not to hurt myself. I spread some more salt as needed. Each time I looked back, I felt more proud of myself. I know I’m strong but–sometimes–I forget how much. Much like life, I didn’t realize how much I had done until I looked back at the progress I’d made. Piece by piece I worked that ice until my hands hurt. Then, turning back I said (to myself): How do you like me now?! I was so damned proud of myself, I couldn’t contain my joy. After I was half finished, the idiot stepped out of the bar and as he passed he said in a low voice, “…at least you made a little place to walk.”