Okay, I admit it, I didn't shovel my walk. I did the first time, and the second time, and the third, fourth and fifth times, but somewhere after that there was a weekend morning when I didn't shovel the two inches of fresh snow off of my walk.

Fuck it, I thought. This winter is never going to end, I'm hungover and there's some strange woman in my bed who I have to get out of here, like, yesterday. I have more pressing concerns than shoveling the sidewalk in front of my quaint abode.

And sure enough, just like every weekend, that snowfall halted, the sun came out for a couple of minutes — even though it was still freezing — and the bulk of the snow melted away. There were a few icy patches in spots, but there was definitely a navigable path for the fat neighborhood children to trek to the school at the end of the block.

Then one day I came home and what should appear on my door, pinned to the glass like an eviction notice for the whole neighborhood to see? A piece of white paper from the City and County of Denver informing me that I was in violation of ordinance 49-551(a), aka Thou Shalt Shovel Thine Walk in a Timely Fashion. If I did not do so in 24 hours, the notice read, I would be forced to pay an administrative penalty of $150, then $500 upon the second violation, then $999 upon the third. Like I really needed that. I had had a really long day at work, I was drunk, and that strange woman in my bed still hadn't left; in fact, she had moved in and changed all the furniture around and had called me to let me know that we were going to dinner that night with her parents and I needed to wear a tie.

But the most galling thing about it all was that while the City and County of Denver had plenty of time to drive around and tell me that my walk was not sufficiently cleared, they didn't seem to have the time to clear my street, which still looks like a cratered-out war-zone.

Maybe instead of telling us when and how to shovel our walks, Denver — and by Denver, I mean Inspector Ortega, who signed the notice -- why don't you fucking clear our streets for us so the suspensions on our automobiles can have a break and we don't shake like a British au pair every time we try to veer out of the firmly established tire ruts in the middle of the ice thicket to park? Wouldn't that just make too much fucking sense?

I did shovel my walk because ultimately, I'm a pussy -- but my street remains impassable. Fortunately for Denver, the sun seems to finally, finally be melting this crap, and so the issue of their negligence will probably melt away with it. But if that plan fails, Denver, so help me God, you can expect your notice from the City and County of Adam Cayton-Holland promptly.

Now, I gotta go. That girl who lives in my house needs me to pick up her sister from the airport. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun