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Dave Astor

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Do You Miss Manners During an Etiquette-Challenged Winter?

Posted: 02/28/11 02:15 AM ET

The second half of this winter has been less snowy than the first half, but it's hard to forget various breaches of etiquette during the flake-filled time prior to early February. Yes, it was a case of "Residents Gone Bad."

For instance, if you were walking or shoveling after a snowstorm, many cars drove by so fast in the messy streets that they splattered snow all over you. I know Marie Antoinette wasn't behind the wheel, but I got a distinct "let them eat slush" vibe.

Then there were the snow-blowing homeowners who spewed white stuff into the street even though that can be illegal and forces municipal workers to re-plow. If these homeowners had just turned their snow-blower chutes in the direction of their own lawns, they wouldn't have created slush bumps in the road. But given that my town includes Upper Mountain Avenue, maybe there was a yearning for Lower Mountain Avenue.

One churlish chute-challenged chap even sent a stream of snow from his blower into my face as I shoveled across the street. Rice pudding tastes better.

Another problem was when people parked directly opposite the driveways of other homes after moving their cars into the street to clear off vehicular snow. That made it difficult for neighbors who wanted to back out to do things like drive their kids to school. Of course, if you asked the cleaner-upper to move his vehicle, you risked an icy response.

And some homeowners cleared their sidewalks badly or not at all, as slip-sliding mail deliverers well knew. If a homeowner is old, ill, or can't afford to pay someone to do the work, a bumpy sidewalk is understandable. (And kind neighbors often pitch in to help.) But some young, healthy, and affluent homeowners are just plain lazy when it comes to utilitarian exercise. Perhaps working out at the fitness center gives them a better chance to show off their abs than clearing snow in a bulky coat. Memo to these selective exercisers: clear your sidewalk in one of those superhero muscle costumes seen on Halloween.

In conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase the classic "Let It Snow" tune: "Oh the weather outside was frightful, and the rudeness? Not delightful."