Saturday, August 1, 2009

Luddite Lite: The Lawn Mower

Mowing the lawn is one of those chores that, now that I've moved into a new place, I have to tackle again. (Seeing as I seem to actually be developing a teensy-weensy following, that move is partly responsible for the lack of posts in July. My own faults bear the majority of the blame, though. Hmm... another entry in that topic, I think, would be warranted. There will be a couple of back-postings for July up here shortly, as I wrote things down elsewhere with the intent to publish them here. Notice how well that has worked out so far. Anyway, I digress.) I have discovered that I like mowing the lawn, which I'm sure my parents would be shocked to hear. Then again, it's been decades since I had a lawn I could mow, so that might have something to do with it.

I am not using a gas mower. There are a couple of reasons for this, starting with the size of my lawn. It's not the proverbial postage-stamp, but it's not huge by any means, either. With the gas mower it took me about 5 minutes for the backyard. That's quick and easy, but also loud, noisy, and courtesy of my nephew, smoky. That's point one against the gas mower. Point two is, it's a waste of energy. Not only mine, because the one I have is a bear to start, but just energy in general. Eventually I'll have to buy more gas for it, so there's also the money issue.

Instead, I have a push mower. That, thankfully, I didn't have to buy, because bizarrely a brand new one costs about as much as a small power mower. I don't understand that at all. After I finished mowing my lawn (took me about 20 minutes with the push mower, so yeah, it took longer, but I got exercise I wouldn't have gotten otherwise) I got to thinking: there's just some technology I think we could do without.

For reasons that should be obvious, I'm not against all technology. Or even most technology. But I think there are certain items, that have often become ubiquitous in our lives, that we just ought to chuck out in favor of a more low-tech solution. (My computer for pen and paper is not one of those. My penmanship is atrocious, and I'm pretty sure editors need to read my submissions.) I'm picking on the lawn mower because I prefer my push mower, but also because the neighbor's landscaping service woke me up earlier this week.

Truthfully though, I don't really think most people need a power mower. Certainly most lawns could be handled with a push mower, which would reduce pollution, increase exercise, and get people and their fat butts out of those monstrous riding mowers that they take about four sweeps across their lawn with. Even out in the country, where you see people with these vast expanse of cropped grass, I have to wonder: if they were only given a push mower, would there be less essentially pointless lawn, and more trees instead?

I confess I've never understood mowing a private lawn the size of a football field, unless of course you intend to play football on it. Which most people don't seem to do. No, they just mow it, probably spray it with chemicals, and spend far more time each week mowing it than they need to. I'd be willing to go so far as to suggest that using a push mower on a smaller lawn might actually save them time over mowing the whole thing on their riding mowers.

What does this have to do with writing? Truthfully, not much, other than I like the idea of a future where we've grown smart enough to dispose of some of this unnecessary technology in order to reap the benefits of a cleaner, healthier, and quieter world.


Kathy said...

Good post.

Maybe we could give up video game systems and cell phones and the like and go back to playing board games, outside activities like hopscotch, volleyball, badminton, and croquet? Whaddya think?

slcboston said...

I have neither a VG system nor a cell phone, so that's an easy one for me :D

Kmcelhinny said...

You bring up a good point, simply bc everything IS at our fingertips now a days; so many things are a burden, it's easier to pick up a jar of sauce (I cringe at the thought) or a even waffles as opposed to make yourself... everything is prepacked, pre-manufactured and pre-made all at the cost of something that could be special. Instead it's quicker, faster more! Sadly it does take some of the joy of the simpler things in life away.

This is a good post