It’s snopocalypse in Seattle! It started snowing yesterday and didn’t stop until late last night. True, we only got 2 to 4 inches, but it was enough to cause mayhem in the evening and now morning commute. Those of you who live in colder weather areas probably think we’re crazy that a little snow is such a big deal. But Seattle doesn’t usually get snow, or at least not this much in November so we’re ill equipped for it.
Perhaps because we rarely get much snow, many people are not aware of the unspoken rule that you need to shovel your sidewalk so that your neighbors can easily walk on the sidewalk. Now I admit I didn’t know this is something you’re supposed to do until I married my east-coast-raised husband. He was up at 6am this morning because he was worried about getting the walk shoveled for our neighbors attempting to walk to the bus or walk their dog. See the picture below.
In the east coast, it’s a rare person who doesn’t know this unspoken rule. I was thinking that etiquette is often unspoken rules like this that we learn from observing our parents, our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers. For instance, I don’t remember ever being told one must not cut in line, but I know it and everyone else seems to know this. I also was never told not to talk loudly in your work cubicle, but again, I know it. Eric, said walk shoveler husband, shared another unspoken rule, that you should hold the door open for people.
Those unspoken rules are what etiquette is all about. As Eric said, “common sense” but as someone else once said to me “common sense isn’t so common.” If we haven’t experienced or observed people practicing these rules we often don’t know. Just like I didn’t know one must shovel their walkway in a snopocalypse.
Happy shoveling Seattleites.