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The days of brooms and rakes.

I believe that leaf blowers and tinted car windows are the beginning of the end of polite, civilized society. More specifically, the misuse of leaf blowers and the mistaken use of tinted car windows.

I trust that leaf blowers were invented with good intention (most inventions have good intentions), but how they are used today simply isn't civilized - it isn't polite. In fact, I feel it can be quite rude.* The idea of blowing leaves and lawn clippings with high powered, mechanically generated wind, to make cleaning up a lawn, driveway, or sidewalk much easier than in the old days when rakes and brooms were used, is rather laudable, but, just how exactly “cleaning up” with such a tool takes place, is questionable. Rather than collecting the leaves and lawn clippings into a pile, then disposing of the pile, like in the days of brooms and rakes, the debris is too often just blown into the street, or into the neighbor's yard... just blown “away.” The debris isn't cleaned up! And then there's the noise. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! You can hear it all the way down the block. Whenever more than one blower is “at work,” I actually find myself longing for a Boeing 747 to fly by overhead to drown out the noise (they come into O'Hare airport, about 17 miles away).

As for tinted car windows, when I heard of the Illinois legislature's “deregulation” of tinting front-seat side windows (circa 2010), I knew we were in trouble, in terms of preserving polite civilization. And, I still feel it's a big mistake that was made. How so? Well, quite often I have cars pass by me that look familiar and I wonder, is it someone I know, and are they waving to me right now through the dark tinted windows, and am I being unintentionally rude by not waving back (because I can't see them), but instead just looking at them, stupidly, as they drive by? Thankfully, my car doesn't have front-seat side tinted windows and I enjoy waving to my neighbors as I drive by (I hope they enjoy waving back!) But, alas, I'm afraid that in the future I'll have to get a car with front-seat side tinted windows, they seem to have become standard equipment. Then my waving-out-the-window days will become a thing of the past. I'll do it for a while, out of habit, and slowly the habit will die out due to lack of response. (Unfortunately, an entire generation has been brought up with rear-seat side tinted windows, therefore not getting the experience of waving out the back window – so they won't miss waving out the front. It's sad.)

But, I have hope! I understand that there are leaf vacuums that use high powered, mechanically generated wind to pull debris into a bag. It doesn't eliminate the noise problem, but the world will be cleaner. And, I can always drive with the side windows open!

*I plan to write a screenplay. In it, the owner of a house at the end of a cul-de-sac systematically bumps off his neighbors, all of whom blow the autumn leaves from their own yard into his. It will be a murder mystery, like the kind Agatha Christie wrote. (It is not based on a true story, or personal experience.)

If you're interested in learning more about window tinting in Illinois, here's a link:

On the page you'll find out that sedans must allow more than 35% of daylight in through the front side windows, while SUVs must allow more than 50%. Who makes up this stuff?


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