The Manitoban gets motivational

Considering this is the editorial page, I am about to make a bold statement: Stop complaining about things and start acting.

That’s right. Stop posting rants on your Facebook wall, stop tweeting your gripes . . . hell, stop bitching around the water cooler and start being the change you want to see.

I know this sounds dangerously close to the drivel spouted by those sickeningly happy motivational speakers who bound on stage with their $1,000 smiles, sweater vests and suspiciously shiny shoes, but hear me out before you lump me in with that lot.

Recently I had a problem at my new house: Every time it snowed the plows would come by and pile a meter wide swath of dirty, icy and disgusting snow in my driveway.

Having moved into my house in May I had not experienced the joys of having a driveway on Jubilee avenue yet, although my neighbours did try to warn me: “wait ‘till the plows leave a two metre high pile of snow in your driveway!” said one. “I have the number for the city engineer on my speed dial” said another. Being an optimist — mainly because pessimism takes far too much effort — I chose to believe their tales were exaggerated.

Oh how I laugh at May 2010 Leif now. How ignorant he was of the realities of snowplows in Winnipeg.

Having cleared snow professionally for three years, after the first few snowfalls I would look out my window and feel a sense of duty swell up inside me, and after loading the iPod with podcasts and strapping on my Gortex, I would bound from the house with the enthusiasm of a Labrador whose master has just arrived home, determined to reduce the windrow to nothing.

After about the fourth time shoveling out my driveway in a week my enthusiasm started to dip. It was getting harder and harder to go out . . . and it had started to affect other aspects of my life.

Watching all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation takes serious dedication after all.

I could have Facebooked or Twittered my distain, but instead I sat down and drafted a very nice email to my city councillor. I used lots of sentences that began with “I feel” and asked what I could do to solve the problem, rather than demand results.

Those of you fed up with municipal politics may be surprised to know that it worked.

Despite a nasty phone call from a city employee, the gist of which was: “You’re a pain in my ass, stop complaining about the crap job I’m doing,” my driveway has been plow-up free for several weeks now . . . thanks to diligent plow operators who clean it out so soon after filling it with snow that I don’t even notice.

It feels pretty damned good to have a problem dealt with, so much so that I recommend everyone try it. Sure beats the fleeting high one gets from venting on the interwebz.