snow -- unexpected -- drifts down as my friend and I walk through the Annex side streets. She's doing her usual routine about how Toronto has it easy compared to her hometown, Edmonton, where the snow arrives in December and hangs in through March amid bone-chilling temperatures. None of this snow-turning-to-rain shit that will, within hours, transform T.O. streets into a sea of slush.
Regional differences aside, we are loving the flakes, especially the way they muffle the city sounds. A snowfall can create an eerie silence, even in the depths of downtown.
Then the stillness breaks. A car door slams, the ignition sounds and tires are squealing in what sounds like an extended saw-buzz. We turn the corner to watch two hefty guys trying to push a large crate of a sedan out of the snow. They're lifting up and forward, but the Buick won't budge.
"What's the matter with you?" the driver calls out with a distinctive Jamaican flava. "Just push."
His two friends put all their weight into it, again getting nowhere except drenched in the snow kicked up by the whirring tires.
By now my cohort and I are watching from close by, across the street. We eye each other with a smile.
"Need any help?" I offer.
The driver gets out of the car. "I don't know," he says doubtfully, looking us up and down. "How strong are you?" He's being just a bit flirtatious now.
"Strong enough," I counter. "Step back for just a second."
As if choreographed, the three men, dreads swinging under their caps, move away from the car in unison.
With just a quick motion of my head -- and no further words between us -- my Albertan connection, all 5- feet-5 of her, gets behind the car while I get behind the wheel.
As she passes in front of our captive audience, she asks, "Ever driven in snow?"
"No, lady," comes the answer. "You gonna do this all yourself?" he wonders, and all the three of them chuckle warmly.
With my friend's shoulder to the trunk, I drive forward two inches. Then she moves to the front of the car as I drive six inches in reverse. Forward and back one more time. The car -- in all senses of the word -- is rocking.
Within seconds, that flicker of incredulity from the trio turns to worry -- yes, we are going to do it, all by ourselves. Then, encouragement.
"Go girl," one of them calls out as the car gets one more shove.
Finally, jubilation, as it lurches out of the parking spot and onto the street.
The men clap and cheer and begin a dance around the car.
"I never seen anything like that before in my life," says the driver with a broad grin as they all scramble into the vehicle.
We wave and continue our walk. Snow culture unites us now, and if, at the same time, three guys think we have super-powers, that's OK with us.
big snow job