Students are all too familiar with the roaring alarm clock of the plow on snowy mornings. That alarm clock is called “Big Red,” driver Robert Asquith’s pet-name for the plow. Asquith jokes that “Big Red” belongs at Exeter, although the pair have built a thirteen-year relationship. Asquith has been a part of the Phillips Academy community for 30 years. His two children were students at PA and Asquith still remembers contentedly the earlier days when “students used to do all the shoveling.” Sitting straight up against the back of his seat, one would seldom think of comfort. But with an aura of familiarity and comfort surrounding him, his position seems natural and thus comfortable. Despite occasionally breaking his focus on the powdery drifts to address questions, Asquith drives smoothly through the falling sleet. He focuses wholeheartedly on answering the questions, and requires practically no concentration to think of the next turn. Even in the sub-freezing morning cold, he wears only a light gray collared sweater in the truck and leaves his jacket beside him on the seat. Soon he explains, “You have to keep it warm [inside the truck] to keep the windshield wipers from freezing and breaking off.” He briefly fans himself. “It’s not cold in here.” To drive a snow plow, Asquith had to obtain a special license. To keep this license, Asquith must have physicals every two years and random blood tests, through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Asquith arrived at Phillips Academy after hearing from a friend that PA was a nice place. He applied, got the job, and has been working here ever since. Surprisingly, the early calls of duty on snowy nights do not bother Asquith. In fact, he “enjoys” waking up early. He continues, “I’ve been waking up early all my life.” He shrugs. “I normally wake up at 4:30, because of an internal alarm clock. I may take a nap, twenty minutes or so during the day, but I get about six to seven hours of sleep a night.” However this early-morning wake up does come with supplementary cups of coffee in the morning. “I do usually have a cup of coffee with me. Usually it’s Starbucks. The Dunkin Donuts by me is open for twenty-four hours though.” Throughout the ride, Asquith reaches down next to the stick-shift and takes sips from his coffee cup. He adds, “I like iced coffee, but I don’t like cold coffee when it was meant to be hot.” He grimaces slightly. Although no music played this morning, Asquith says that his usual audio pick is talk-radio. “I try to get the weather forecast,” he sensibly answers. Asquith’s normal routine on the mornings of messy winter days was disoriented due to the interview. Normally, he plows the Abbot Campus area first, followed by George Washington Hall, Chapel Avenue, and Main Campus. The main and common roads are mapped on his route. Smaller walkways and parking lots are cleared by plows of varying sizes. Big Red has bigger fish to fry. Though preparation and planning is helpful, the weather is not always predictable and so the task is, “not always easy.” Asquith says, “It takes two hours just to go through the route once. Then we have to go through the route again with sand. That takes from one hour to an hour and a half.” Asquith is unfazed by his schedule. “[Repetition] is part of the job, and that’s probably why I don’t like plowing more than exploring.” The familiar sound of the hydraulic pump scattering the sand and salt, intended to de-ice the pathways and roads, whines in the background. For Asquith, spontaneity only comes in the form of student pedestrians. Asquith says, “It’s [hard] at times.” He knits his brow. “When we have to plow around kids wearing headphones and talking on their phones, and plow around cars.” He gestures at the empty road with one hand, envisioning the students walking the paths, despite the thick darkness outside. During snowstorms, he works as long as he’s asked to. He ponders for a minute and says, “You stay a lot of hours, and everyone gets cranky.” He nods his head, reminiscing. “A lot of people, with PA being a boarding school, don’t realize that we have to drive home and then take care of everything at home. A lot of the students and faculty live right here.” Asquith must relentlessly circle his route to ensure clear roads. He says, “The job can get tiring when you’re doing this all day. Like during a snowstorm. At these times, we just get a couple of hours of sleep, go to the shop [in Abbot campus], drink coffee, and take naps…” Another downside of plowing, aside from the repetition, like many other jobs, is the feeling of endlessness without the sun in sight. Says Asquith, “You have to go to work in the dark and come back home in the dark. You want the sun. Everyone is affected by this. But then again, it is winter.” Whether or not the sun may be invisible, Asquith declares, “[Snow plowing] is the job that I like the most year-round.” A priority for Asquith and the crew is to maintain a safe environment, to ensure that the faculty can leave their driveways, and that the children at the day care center will always have a place to go regardless of the winter’s tricks.