Friday, November 10, 2006

leaf blowers

I'm still trying to understand this phenomenon of leaf blowers. The folks next door are running theirs right now, with the usual racket and dust flying around. The usual pattern seems to be to carefully blow the whatever-it-is into a pile and then blow the pile away, scattering it again. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like a case of over-application of technology. If you're cleaning the driveway, which they are, why not use either a broom? Not only are they quiet and cheap, but brooms have the added feature of being compatible with a fantastic invention known as a "dust pan" that lets you collect the whatever-it-is you're cleaning up. Even better, the dust pan is fully compatible with a "plastic grocery bag" into which you can place the whatever-it-is and throw it away so it doesn't blow back into your driveway later. Now, if the blower were a sucker, a sort of outdoor vacuum cleaner, that seems like it'd actually be an improvement on the broom, especially if it could deposit stuff into the plastic grocery bag or trash can directly, avoiding the dust pan intermediate. But blowing things around, only to have the wind blow them back, seems more like a waste of time and energy than anything else. Maybe it's that the noise gives a sense of accomplishment? Hmm. Perhaps there's a market for noisemaking driveway brooms with a push-button "power sweep" feature.

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