Leaf Blowers

Blick aus meinem Schlafzimmer von Neubiberg rüber nach Ottobrunn. Wer findet den Laubbläser?
The view is from my bedroom in Neubiberg looking towards Ottobrunn. – Who can find the leaf blower?

This is again the time of the year when they are operational.

All over the place.

As soon as I look out of my bedroom window over the little park in the morning, I discover the first of them.

Using the cyclists’ path on my way to the Phönix (that is the Ottobrunn public swimming pool), I come across the next couple. And this is how it continues all day long.

There are two kinds of leaf blowers. The private ones where people absolutely had to have a lawn mower and a leaf blower in their garden shed – on top of their luxury villa, their different cars, motor bikes and scooters. All of these gadgets have a combustion motor to make them really noisy. And then once in a while, you have to do some blowing. After all, this is what everybody does, isn’t it? Actually, those crazies are not the persons I address with this article.

Today, I want to write about the professional leaf blowers. They are driven to their places of service by the community car and then they have to blow all day long, wearing protective gear both for their ears and mouth. Some of them wear their motor on their backs like a backpack, others have to carry the entire device on their shoulder holster and some very exceptional employees have a four-wheel vehicle for doing the “blow-job”.

These leaf blowers are a particular annoyance to me. How I pity the people having to work those machines! On wet days like this morning, you can more or less put up with it. However, on a beautiful dry workday with a little sun, they are absolute hell for me as a biker. Because they blow so much dust into the air – and quite a few particles will inevitably end up in the eyes of the biker.

Yet this is not the place for me to write about what a foolish idea leaf blowers are. Basically, all they achieve is that companies like Stiehl and others become rich. Other than that, all they do is produce noise and smell. Of course, they also need fuel – which often smells bad when the person who did the re-filling was a little jittery.

Now I am sitting in the train, which is a leaf-blower free zone (you cannot use the mobile phone, either) and going to the EnjoyWorkCamp. I have to think of all those people dressed up in their leaf blower costumes. Four hours of noise, in between a sandwich break, then lunch and another four hours of noise. All by yourself, no human contact. Moving the leaves from one corner to the next – and then having to see how the wind again blows it somewhere else.

Now I wonder what answer they would give if I asked them after a day’s work: “What kind of day have you had?” – And I am afraid the reply would not be pleasant.

Incidentally, it could easily be organized differently. We could send people – always in twos – with a rolling container, some shovels, brooms and rakes out to do the job. While they are doing their work, they could have conversations with each other. And they could proudly observe how many containers they managed to fill and remove every day.

And perhaps you could even give them an extra sack for plastic and other rubbish (cigarette boxes, all sorts of paper, Coffee2GO containers, aluminium cans,…) which nowadays are a disgrace to all our roads, squares and streets. Along with a device for picking up all the rubbish. The additional advantage for these persons would be that they could also be proud to leave a track of cleanliness behind them.

If I asked these persons “What kind of day have you had?”, then chances are that perhaps the replies would be a little more enjoyable than those of the leaf blowers. Aren’t there enough people sitting at home and having no job – either living on Hartz4 or social welfare. My idea might be a little more expensive, but it would certainly make a lot more sense. Besides, it is never a bad idea to suggest that someone should get active in the great outdoors.

Please refrain from saying that this was only true in former times!

(Translated by EG)


Apropos fresh air. History teaches us another lesson, too. Whenever I arrive at my goal by bike in the best of moods on a rainy or snowy day, or generally when the weather is bad, people are surprised and ask me how anybody can ride a bike with this kind of weather. My usual reply is that there is no such thing as wrong weather, the only problem is wrong clothes.

In the future, I will point out that there are people who have to work outside at all weathers: for instance leaf blowers, both female and male.

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