Camouflaged like a snow plough driver I cruise the cold snowy winter nights of south-west Berlin. My mission is to uncover all what’s hidden under snow and ice – basically sidewalks. And also to find out what nightshifts are about. The most charming and helpful device to deal with that task is my snow plough. Orange, four wheels, a diesel engine and a big spinning brush in the front, which can transform into a blizzard if you’re not careful enough with the speed.
Statistically, the highest probability for snow to fall is at night, which also was my most likely working time during the last weeks. Working while the city is asleep. The Alpina Snow Corporation is offering its services.
Students or pensioners who have to earn some extra money drive the fleet of machines, whenever they are needed. People who have to be available all around the clock belong to the personnel, as a manager once said, while switching of his cell phone for dinner.
Snow plough drivers have a critical relationship to snow. Forget about all those nice images of happy kids waking up in the mornings in a winter wonder land. Forget about sympathy for that white stuff made of frozen rain laying around on trees and fences shining so nicely.
Wherever I have been the beautiful previously untouched snow cover is destroyed. I destruct the white paths; I make it impossible for daddies to pull their happy fully wrapped child on sleds. Snow is something to be put away. I only leave a grey track on the ground, covered with the sand I strew.
Early in the morning, personal closing time, I am on my way home on the first subway train. Unexpectedly, there are people on their feet at half past four in the morning, sleepy eyes and worn out clothes. Poor people have to get up early. Passengers at daybreak look quite different to the well rested ones you see in the same subway line at 10 a.m., when there are mostly academics and students like me on their way.