Fastlane: Mike Santora

Mike Santora, independent snowplow driver

It's winter, baby! And while most of us sit inside, nestled by a warm fire and sipping hot cocoa, a chosen few brave the steely ice and cold, trudging through the middle of the night to ensure that when we wake up in the morning, our driveways will be clear, free of Mother Nature's five-month reminder that Cleveland is not located in the state of Hawaii. This is the story of one such noble soul. A man and his sleigh. A sleigh with a big yellow thingy attached to the front. Across the frozen tundra of Solon comes Mike Santora, Snowplow Guy.

So, do you like snow?

No, not really. All of my customers have a yearly contract, so I get paid the same whether it snows or not. I suppose I'd like it more if I didn't have to plow it, though.

When's your favorite time to plow?

I'm the middle-of-the-night kind of guy. I like it better. There's no traffic. And you don't really have to worry that somebody's going to come flying by you when you're backing out.

Plus, if you hit a parked car, no one will know.

I don't know what you're talking about.

What's the best kind of snow to plow?

The fluffier the better. That wet, heavy stuff is the worst.

Your thoughts on salt.

Well, I don't use it on my driveway.

Your thoughts on pepper.

A little bit of the fresh ground stuff on my salad is OK.

Is it true that no two driveways are alike?

Uhm, isn't that a snowflake thing?

How much snow is enough snow to plow?

Two inches.

Have you ever run into something in someone's driveway?

I'll take the Fifth.

The worst winter you can remember.

'93 — it just never stopped coming down.

Does your wife ever call you and scream, "I need my driveway plowed!"

Nah, she's got four-wheel drive.

How do you feel about circular driveways?

They're kind of a pain, to tell you the truth.

How often do you check the weather?

A lot. I watch the news all the time and I'm usually up at 2 a.m., seeing what's going on outside.

Give me some good shoveling advice.

Don't shovel. Call me.

What do you do during the summer?

Sleep later. And start counting the days until winter.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

No, I'm dreaming of a 65-degree, sunny-day Christmas.

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