The Question of Snownership

And in the face of snowpocalypse, here is something light…

There is a lot of snow around Washington D.C. today, epic piles of it. There has been snow around, in varying quantities since before Christmas, actually. I really like snow, I am fascinated by it because I didn’t grow up with it. Every time I see it, it’s an exciting adventure. I also like to play with it. Now, I don’t mean throwing or building massive sculptures – just sort of push it around a bit, touch it, eat it, mould it into little chunks – the way people who are fascinated by snow are prone to do.

Now as I understand it, people play with snow local to them. Like one’s children go out into the local park, or one’s garden and play in snow. So if you have a house, with a garden the snow that falls on the garden is your snow, for you to play with, just as the snow that falls on your drive is yours to shovel. Similarly, if I lived in an apartment with a balcony I would assume that the snow on my balcony was mine. I used to think that living in an apartment I had less snow to my name, perhaps just the snow that fell on my car – because I own the car, so surely I own that snow. When I was an undergrad the snow that fell around my building at Mason was snow I had the right to play with.

I now live in an apartment block, behind a public building and my car lives in a garage. As I see it there is no snow for me.

So, I have been pondering what snow I can play with:

It is acceptable to play with the snow on other people’s cars, or in their gardens? If you were a car owner or homeowner and you came out one morning and found the snow atop your vehicle had been tampered with, would you feel violated? Similarly, if the snow in your front garden was disgruntled from play, would you feel something had been taken from you, the chance to muss your own snow up as you shuffle to your buried mailbox? I know I would.

Similarly, there is a space for walking dogs in my building complex, but I do not have a dog. Am I allowed to play with that snow, or will I seem like I’m waiting to steal someone’s terrier?

So, I think the snow I am allowed to play with is either National Snow, the snow that has fallen on the monuments or the Mall in Washington, or the snow at Georgetown (but even that’s a stretch because I’m not living on campus – but I pay tuition, surely that buys me some snow!) And both of these places are quite far away from where I live, there’s basically no snow in Virginia for me! I’ve been borrowing people’s snow! Playing with snow at Katharine’s house or at Paul’s house and asking stupidly, “may I play with this snow?”

Right now, I have to satisfy myself with the little bit of snow that has become trapped between my screen and my windows.

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