Sunday, November 24, 2013
No, no, not that one!
I'm talking about manly housework tools...
For example, it's the season of leaf blowers for those of us that live in a world with trees. For me, they are one of the more seasonally irritating aspects of urban dwelling.
Leaf blowers create an environment where your day is spent listening to a constant whine or roar that goes on for hours as some guy blows leaves from one bit of the pavement to...why, yes, to the next bit of the pavement and so on, ad infinitum.
Mostly, leaf blowers are used where a broom or rake would work fine, and rarely involve actually collecting the leaves & placing them into a receptacle to be removed.
Mostly, they just get blown into the neighbor's yard, the sidewalk, the street. Where, naturally, they can just get blown back to wherever. Progress!
In fairness, there are places where a broom or rake won't work—plantings, or fragile growth areas that might need to be de-leafed in the fall. But for that, there are leaf suckers—yes, they do exist—that vacuum the leaves into a bag, so they are active a small fraction of the time leaf blowers are on (because they actually remove the leaves).
So I'm thinking: Why?
And the realization strikes that no self-respecting guy would want to take a broom to the sidewalk. Women's work! But when it comes to marching about with a giant dongle waving about in front of you (nearly reaching the ground! How cool is that?) and making a lot of noise, it's acceptable. Even desirable & fun.
Think about the creativity that has gone into lawn mowing equipment—the advent of the riding mower transformed cutting the lawn into a macho experience. What male wouldn't like to sit on a big, vibrating, noisy machine that gets driven around the Indy 500 track of your front yard? Beautiful.
So for those women who wish men might contribute a bit more to household chores, the solution is simple: guy-ify the appliances.
Imagine if the dishwasher had a starter switch like a outboard motor pull? Ideally it would be a bit fussy, perhaps requiring a certain weight within the dishwasher (like, there have to be some dishes in there & soap). A couple of strong yanks, a loud whirr, and they're off! There would not be a dirty dish in the house.
And how about a washing machine set close to the ceiling, where clothes have to 'make' the basket? The floor around could be weight sensitive and a robo voice (like the self-help supermarket monitors) would make rude remarks about their skill, forcing them to pick up misses. Now detergent comes in little tossable balls too, so that could work well. Another outboard pull or perhaps some drumming patterns that activates the starter. I think it's viable.
So instead of trying to reverse Henry Higgins famous line: Why can't a man be more like a woman? we need to re-engineer our attitude and create the ultimate housekeeping video game...
Vive la différence!