Snow plow drivers are people, too.
It’s easy to forget that in the throes of winter – especially a winter as hard and unending as this one. You see roads that are snow covered and suddenly those drivers are Public Enemy No. 1.
I set out last week to ride along with a snow plow driver after Mother Nature dropped a few more inches of that ugly white stuff on Kokomo. I wanted to tell the story of what a driver’s life is like when the snow just won’t quit.
Here is what I found.
It was 10:55 p.m., and the newest crew was waiting for its assignments at the Kokomo Street Department building on Boulevard. Men filed in and out of the office I was waiting in, filling up on coffee before another 16-hour shift.
One turned to me as he walked in.
“Good morning,” he said. “Oh, it’s evening.”
I asked him if he was losing track of hours. No, he said.
“I’m losing track of days,” he said. “It’s rough.”
Another shook his head and said people can be hateful. Someone once threw a shovel at him while he worked, he said.
Shortly after 11 p.m. the men climbed into their trucks. I’d be riding with Marc Mishler. I shook his hand and introduced myself.
We’d be heading to Indian Heights, where there are nine miles of streets and 70 intersections to clear. That neighborhood alone would take him nine hours to finish.
Marc used to be a farmer before being hired on by the City of Kokomo. He drove a trash truck for years but prefers his gig clearing roads, even if it’s sometimes exhausting.
“All you do is work and sleep now,” he said.
Work is piling up at his house. There’s never any time to catch up. He missed the Super Bowl because he’s worked the past three weekends.