With our first few inches of snow comes the end of the brief month were the neighborhood was silent. Gone was the constant drone of a lawnmower, and far off seemed the pulsing vibrations of the snow blower. Since both are pollution hogs, both in regard to the atmosphere / spilled gas and noise levels, let us weigh which is truly the more evil machine in the court of The Deep Middle.
Defendant 1 -- The Snow Blower
-- Its sound is not as smooth or even. It ricochets as the mechanism spins. When the machine hits a dry patch it hums loudly, and when it runs into a drift it gurgles and goes baritone, sometimes being turned off then yanked back on once the chamber is cleared of frozen rain.
-- For some insane reason, owners of snow blowers have no time limit to their practices. Not only will machines be seen idling alone on drives and sidewalks as if they were making a slow run for it, but the machines are employed at any hour: 5am, midnight, it doesn't matter. Theoretically, one must assume, this is because clearing the drive and walk is essential to the business of the house, for example, the visiting UPS men or mother in laws, or rear-wheel drive cars, or unattended toddlers. Clearing snow is an urgent business, one best performed even before the snow has ended so that it can be done a second time hours later.
-- The placement of blown snow seems not to matter the least to the operator. If the snow is shot onto a neighbor's clear drive, across their garage door (open or closed), or into the freshly plowed street, it seems not to matter at all. In some instances, the violent thrust of snow will pass a young tree's path and branches will be snapped off without a notice at all. It seems that an "eye for an eye" law would best negate any of these practices.
Defendant 2 -- The Lawmower
-- There is a summer vigil with these machines, as if a secret neighborhood pact is in place like the guarding of the unknown soldier's tomb. As soon as the 8am mower is safely stored away until three days later when it comes out again, the next mower comes out, and so on until about 9 or 10pm given proper daylight conditions. Let it be said that a neighborhood can never be perfect unless a lawnmower is on its stern, Jeffersonian grid walk across the landscape, all along the watchtower, perhaps with the person operating the machine plugged into an ipod ironically listening to Bob Dylan.
-- Most prefer to mow their lawns during the dinner hour. Is this because they've been cast out of the kitchen by a domineering spouse, or because they despise the power of their neighbors grilling freely and almost heroically on the oasis-like patio next door?
-- Though lawnmowers provide a relatively constant acoustic level of insanity, the ocassional stick, rock, or frog will create an explosive discharge of metal upon metal, and an oft lowering of blade speed to address the problem. Wet lawn also causes a frequent interruption of sound level, and a much longer mowing time. Often, a father will be heard barking commands to an indoctrinated youth: "Damn it, go slower," or "Damn it, you mowed your mother's roses," or "Damn it, you missed the left side of the house why don't you just go back inside and let me finish it since you clearly aren't capable of helping out around here even after we paid for your mission trip to Mexico."
While we can see that both machines are cruel, we must rule wholeheartedly and fairly against the lawnmower, for only it seems to be the true terrestrial leviathan when it comes to destroying an environment. On levels of acoustical nuisance, wildlife endangerment, parental torture device, and noxious fumes which can create cancer and impotence, it seem the more frequently used lawnmower is truly the scourge of our modern world. We, the jury and judge of this blog, encourage the use of rocket launchers, C4, and any and all other violent means necessary to dislodge the rule of both lawnmower and snow blower from our society. Amen.