Sweepers arise – your brooms await


Of course, one person’s party is another’s riot. The music that soothes my teenage daughters has the opposite effect on the paying guests of the Catholic retreat next door. The sound of lawn mowers on Friday afternoon may be music to someone’s ears, to mine it is the mad clatter of petrol addicts fighting nature with all the sanity of an acid-freak battling lizards in the bath.

Given the regular expressions of outrage in these pages when graffiti appears on prominent, blank walls, a good percentage of you obviously do not consider the application of the spray can, art. Personally, I think most graffiti is silly and some is wonderful but I am equally offended by bad and boring architecture.

Significantly, I am never as offended by visual pollution as I am by noise. You can look the other way, close your eyes or walk down a different street, but your ears are always open.

Given my distaste for the timbre of the two stroke engine, it will not surprise you, Dear Reader, that I do not like leaf blowers.

This is not just because of they interrupt the peace of my morning walk. They also remind me of an awful boss who once yelled at me once for using a broom rather than a petrol-powered leaf blower to clear leaves from a path.

I have long taken to heart the Buddhist adage that there is a certain stillness at the heart of order, and the gentle creation of order through the humble act of sweeping is a meditation in itself. I pride myself on the thorough and effective manner in which I wield the yard broom and the swish of bristles is the crisp sound of efficiency as well as the mechanical equivalent of a babbling brook.

By comparison, donning the earmuffs and eyeglasses to wave the noisy, smelly beast that blows is, for me, a pointless wrestle with the minions of Vulcan for little gain. These minor daemons are unsuited to the task of cleaning and letting them loose in the world to move leaves is like smashing through the window of the florist in your four wheel drive to buy a bunch of long stemmed roses.

Apparently, I am not the only weirdo to feel this way. The issue has become so fraught in California that 20 cities have banned them outright. Celebrity gardeners appear on television fighting for their right to peace and quiet, or the freedom to blow leaves as they see fit.

While I have restrained myself from crash-tackling the local video store owner at 6.30 in the morning, I do discourage our elected representatives from spending rate monies on energy intensive machines that can be replaced with a little, old-fashioned elbow grease.

Giovanni is on Bay FM, 99.9FM this morning between 9 and 11.

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