Free from curse of dumbest thing ever invented

By Earle Gale ( China Daily ) Updated: 2009-07-16 09:37:38

I've been in Beijing for three months and admit to being in the "honeymoon phase" of my relationship with this city. I'm sure China's capital has its problems, but so far, I haven't been hit over the head with them. Instead, I often find myself walking around with a dumb grin on my face and a gut full of the kind of gob-struck awe you might expect from a busload of small-town trainee decorators on an excursion to the Sistine Chapel.

Free from curse of dumbest thing ever invented

Much has dazzled me but one thing that has impressed me the most is something it does not have - leaf-blowers. The bane of my existence back in Vancouver, Canada, is the leaf-blower and it annoys me on every possible level.

Those foul, noisy, pointless creations are as useful as mudflap on a speedboat.

I'm not saying Beijing is a peaceful oasis. Noise-wise, the city is on a par with the front five rows of an AC/DC concert. But, the honking horns, clattering construction and even the sound of petrol-powered grass mowers chomping park lawns are nothing compared to the awfulness of the wailing leaf-blower.

Indeed, with a world jammed full of problems, I admit to being a little disappointed with myself for making the leaf-blower the thing that has annoyed me.

Back home, I couldn't take my dog for a walk without her being scared half to death by someone wielding a leaf-blower like a weapon. A stroll with my daughter in her pram was incomplete without the need to duck great clouds of leaves, dust and garbage blasted off the sidewalk.

I grew to hate the machines also because they often jolted me from a train of potentially deep thought.

My anger toward the petrol-powered pests has been compounded by the fact that they do so little good. Whatever is blown in one direction will be surely blown back by Mother Nature.

It was a great relief to read recently that environmentalists figured out that each machine pumps out as much pollution in one year as 80 cars, each driven for 12,500 miles.

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