It's one of winter's most agonizing rituals. You shovel your driveway after a big snow storm, head inside for a few minutes — and emerge to discover that some dastardly snowplow has blocked your exit yet again. At least, that's the way most of us see it — but plow drivers have a different perspective.

"Still trying make more room," said plow driver Steven Lavoie. "More snow, and it's not getting easy. As it is now, some snowbanks are four and five feet high, and we can only push so high."

In some ways, Lavoie is just like the rest of us. He's fed up with the snow that's blasted Boston in 2015. And he's dreading the additional snow that's forecast for later this week. But that's where the similarities end.

"Now, watch this one here. see? Middle finger," he said while driving. "I can verify. Middle finger, held high in the air. And she just gave it again. so, that's what we gotta deal with."

Lavoie drives a snowplow for the Salem Department of Public Works. And for some fed-up homeowners — that makes him the enemy.

When I rode with Lavoie Monday, he was part of a two-truck crew. The lead truck drove in the middle of the lane, pushing the snow to both sides. Lavoie was what he called the chaser: he followed close behind — pushing any snow he caught even further to right.

Sometimes, Lavoie's plow drove snow hard into the snowbanks looming over the sidewalk. But other times, he scattered heavy, dirty snow across driveways as people tried to clear them out — and was rewarded with naked hostility.

"See? He just told me to go eff myself!" Lavoie said. "What I'd try to make him understand is the storm's not over."

And then there were the homeowners who engaged in a sort of Arctic brinksmanship as Lavoie drives by — planting their shovels or snowblowers so close to the road that Lavoie has to back off.

"There's one who didn't want to move," Lavoie said. "And we had another two feet to go. He'll be the first one to complain. When he gets stuck in the round because the snow's still in the road. How come you didn't plow? How come you didn't push it wide enough?"

'See? He just told me to go eff myself!'

Throw in parked cars that choke traffic and little kids teetering precariously on roadside snowbanks, and it's fair to say that Lavoie's job is stressful. Oh yeah, one more thing: He also has to dodge snow-topped manhole covers that can give his truck a seismic shock.

"It's a good size jolt," he said. "Gets your attention. that's why when you hit certain ones, you remember where they are, you don't want to do it again."

Ultimately, Lavoie says, the abuse he and other plow drivers take is simply part of the job.

"Everybody goes through it," he said. "One way or another, we all get gestures, people don't want to move out of the way. Every driver goes through it. New guys, if they haven't, they will."

But he also says he'd appreciate a bit more understanding from the general public.

"Be a little more kind!" he said. "We're only doing our job."

And remember: when the rest of us are sleeping after hard day's shoveling — Lavoie and his colleagues will still be on the roads.

"Looks like it's starting to pick up again," he said. " … It's gonna be a loooong night."