We Had a (Snow)Ball Watching the Super Bowl: A Story of Life in the Wintry Suburbs

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A few minutes before the Super Bowl halftime show, the satellite TV went out at my friends Annie & Derick's house. The three of us sat in silent unison for a moment, staring at the screen, hoping the problem would self-correct & let us get back to the game without having to arise from our food comas.

No such luck.

The dish was covered in snow, & we couldn't return to our TV-watching unless we could come up with a way to uncover it. Problem? The dish was on their roof, & there was about half a foot of wet, heavy snow both up there & on the ground below.

It didn't seem likely that we were going to get to see the rest of the game.

But Derick wasn't going down without a fight. "I'm going to climb up there," he insisted, despite the fact that the snow was now coming down in sheets & that he wasn't even sure whether they owned a ladder. His wife, naturally, began to panic: "This is going to end in a trip to the ER," she insisted. "Be smart."

So we brainstormed. Could we aim the spray of the hose at the snow-covered dish to clear it off? Derick tried, but he couldn't get a steady stream. Could we stick something out the second-story window beneath the dish, like a broom, to reach it without getting on the roof? But the architecture of their roof meant we couldn't reach around the lip to get at the spot directly above the window where the dish sat.

"What if we throw something at it?" Derick wondered aloud.

But what?

"Snowballs," I said.

So we did.

For 10 minutes, Annie & I created hard-packed, softball-sized snowballs, handing them off to Derick to fling skyward. Some of them missed, careening toward their neighbor's car & out into the street - but thanks to a good eye & a strong arm, many of them hit their target. When they did, they struck the satellite dish with enough force to knock off some of the snow it had collected. About 20 snowballs into our effort, I peeked my head through their back door into the living room, where I saw the pixelated screen begin to reassemble itself into Katy Perry & her dancing sharks.

We took off our boots & ate a celebratory cookie or three, settling back into the couch to marvel at Missy Elliott's hair extensions.

Throughout the course of the game, the satellite TV went out two more times. Both times, we pulled on our snowboots & trudged diligently back outside, returning to the work of snowball-making so that we could then return to the work of Super Bowl-watching. "Bet you didn't think you'd have to work for your right to watch the game," Annie joked. We were cold & wet & annoyed, but I think we all kind of enjoyed an excuse to have a snowball fight with a purpose.

And all I could think was that this was so, so different than what my life has been like for the last seven & a half years - where cities shut down at the thought of a few snowflakes, & where maintenance men cleared the snowy sidewalks & handled all my housing problems, & where I might've had to wait for the bus in the rain but certainly never had to drive my car in the sleet. My D.C. friends all think I come from the sticks, & I know a story like this one isn't going to go a long way in convincing them otherwise - but I had a great time tonight, laughing in the dark at the end of a snow-covered, dead-end street, being Midwestern MacGyvers & making the best of a bad situation. 

And when I got home, I shoveled the driveway, just to prove that I'm an Ohioan. Like anyone doubted me.

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