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Voyageur's Best Generally Speaking of 2005


Drop dodger
Rain drops keep falling on my head
by Nickole Caspersen  |  March 1, 2005

It seems to me that roofs are purposely designed so when the snow begins to melt off, the water drips smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk. It may even be written in the building codes: any new structure with a concrete walkway along said structure must have a roof with eaves equal in length to half the width of said walkway.

Ever since the first drop of icy water fell off a roof and slid down my back I’ve wondered why the overhangs aren’t made longer to shelter the whole sidewalk. I used to think there was an architectural reason, too much unsupported weight too far out from the building perhaps. Now I know it’s because somebody, somewhere has a strange sense of humor. I just know that while the contractors are putting up these buildings they are laughing to themselves. They are already playing in their minds the antics to come.

People, myself included, will completely alter the way they would normally move down a sidewalk just to avoid a little splash of water on the end of their nose. One move I break out quite often is the drop dodge. This is where I wait and watch until a drop falls, then I make a quick jump to the dry side of the sidewalk before the next one falls. It works about 75% of the time.

Once on the sidewalk, I switch to skirting close to the wall as I walk. As it turns out, this is a very popular strategy, because I never fail to meet someone else doing the exact same thing, exit, Nikki, from the dry side of the sidewalk. Methods used by others include walking really fast so they aren’t in one place long enough to get dripped on, balancing on the edge of the sidewalk, or just avoiding it altogether.

The funny thing is that all attempts to avoid being dripped on are usually negated upon reaching the door. It seems the building code writer was in cahoots with the the guy who invented the outward swinging door. I don’t think it is possible to get out from under the sheltered part of the sidewalk and around and through the door without getting wet.

As hard as I try to avoid being dripped on, the water really doesn’t bother me all that much. I’ll gladly bear the burden of roof runoff in return for warm weather.

It’s when the temperature dips back down that things get interesting. When all of those mildly annoying drips refreeze into a long sheet of ice, stretching the whole length of the sidewalk. The drop dodging moves demonstrated earlier in the day pale in comparision to the strange gyrations people use to remain upright on the fresh ice.

There have to be a million and one ways to keep melting snow from dripping onto sidewalks, but where’s the fun in that?

This article first appeared in the March 1, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.