Language Barrier

I started up the snow blower and leaned into the hard packed debris at the end of the driveway packed with thick chunks of snow and ice. The old machine gurgled and sputtered and slowly made it through the pile with great struggle. Twenty minutes in and puff, puff, sput, sput the behemoth clonks out right in the middle of the road. I am sure it is due to user error, because I am not a lover of this machine, nor know much about how this monster works despite several walk-throughs from my friends. Twenty minutes of pushing and heaving and my daughter and I manage to get the snow blower back in to the resting spot in our garage. I vow never to start it up. Maybe it’s time to pay for a plow driver to tackle this.
“What went wrong?” asks my brother in law after I came in from shoveling for two and half hours. I shared that the machine sputtered off while I was trying to get through the stuff at the end of the driveway. Maybe it was too much for our machine. But deep down I was certain it was user error. He promised he’d stop by to check it out.
A light dusting of snow came through last week and my brother in law is at the door for my tutoring. He leans over to peek at the machine and asks why the choke is turned all the way up? Hadn’t I turned it down after starting? I could only ask “which one is the choke?”

Language barrier

It occurred to me that each time I was tutored, well intention people had told me to turn up the choke, or turn down the gas thinking I knew what I this meant. And I am not blaming them I am blaming myself for not asking clarifying questions. Gas powered machines scare me. I put up a mental block, feign I understand because I don’t want to look silly, and hope it all works. But you all now know how that turned out. So this time I did ask those silly questions AND I took it one step further… I made myself a cheat sheet with language and pictures I can understand.

Wish me luck – we’ve got 12+ inches out there to tackle today! I think I got this.

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday over at Two Writing Teachers. Won’t you consider joining in?

2 Replies to “Language Barrier”

  1. I’ve long wondered why snowblowers are so cantankerous. I like shoveling snow, but I’d get the machine out if I were on the east coast right now. I’m so glad we’re past the days when cars had manual chokes.

  2. That was a good decision. It reminded of those days when the laptop was new and I used to write down what I had to do 🙂 Now the internet has become such an important part of our lives 🙂

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