Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rant n' Roll

OK, ages ago I started doing a feature called Boeuf of the Week.  The title made me laugh as people who know me well, know I don't really have that many boeufs, so the idea of doing it weekly was a bit of a joke.  I mean, it's not like nothing bothers me, I am human after all, but I tend to get over such things pretty quickly.  I'm forever reminding my mother to 'just let it go', as she'll hold on to her annoyances well past their sell by date.  I try to live in a more zen like way, I figure there's enough big problems that will be thrown your way over the course of your life, save your energy for those!  For the smaller stuff, I think it's just best to rant n' roll - have your say to get it off your chest and then move on.  So that will be the new title of such blog postings and I kick it off with something that has been getting on my wick for some time now, I've been wanting to write about it for ages.  Strap yourselves in, it's rant n' roll time - let's go!

So my first victim in this new format is...drum roll please.......street sweepers!!!
Now this may seem like a strange thing for me to complain about, especially considering I really like clean things, and the fact the I also love my environment to be aesthetically pleasing and I'd even go as far to say that, I teeter over the line of being a germaphobe.
However, with my love of cleanliness now stated, I got to tell you, every time I see one of these 'outdoor Zambonis' I find myself annoyed.  Don't get me wrong, I think Zamboni are great, I'm a fairly straight up, common sense kinda girl....I find watching the Zamboni quite relaxing and the best part, I completely understand what it does.  I mean, even if you don't know the mechanics of  it's job, you can see that it has a purpose, ice shavings gone, grooves filled in, shiny smooth ice surface renewed - magic!!
I'm afraid, it's older cousin, the street sweeper, doesn't quite leave me with that same sense of wonderment.  I mean, hey, I'm sure he has his moments, like cleaning up debris from the roads in a construction area or maybe cleaning up the bulk of the mess left on the streets after a parade or the like, trouble is, I've only seen them performing this type of job once and that was years back when we moved into a townhouse complex that still had phases under construction, and as I recall, we got to enjoy the sound of that beast of a vehicle on our street over a period of several hours, which lets face it, probably meant it went up and down the block once, not exactly a speedy ride.
What does baffle me is what purpose is it achieving the rest of the times I see it, aside from annoying me.  I've been noticing them more frequently over the past year and each and every time I look at the road, that the vehicle has yet to sweep, it's completely clean!  I've even spotted them on several walks, so I've been able to confirm the cleanliness of the street up close and personal.  I watch these monstrous machines slowly making their way up and down roads, blocking traffic along the way, brushes spinning to pick up...umm, not much and sometimes they even give off the added bonus of hosing the street down first, so as to keep the dust (that I can't even see) down.  I've even watched as they've sprayed streets that are already wet from the rain!
I've read, (straight from Wiki) that 'street sweeping can be an effective measure in reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff.', which I'm sure is absolutely true in cases where you can at least see the pollutants!  My thought is, if this is for the good of the environment, wouldn't it be better to use these machines only when really needed - when the naked eye can actually detect this street debris, because I'm thinking, the cost to purchase, run, man and maintain these big boys must be pretty high, not to mention the toll that all of that has on the environment.  I think there must be better ways to use taxpayers money and surely better ways to protect the environment, than cleaning already clean streets.

In conclusion I say, 'street sweepers, meh'.  I'm sure when they first hit the scene back in the mid 1800's they were a welcomed addition to the streets of jolly ol' England, the industrial revolution surely got the streets a little grimy at times.  And I can only imagine that late at night, villages would be strewn with drunken men, stumbling from taverns and eventually vomiting in the streets and the morning would be no better as the likes of Oliver Twist and his pals, would beg for breakfast only to spew the nasty gruel into the streets once it hit their tastebuds (only Oliver would ask for more, but he always had a taste for the 'exotic').  So understandable back then, with all of that ugliness lurking on the streets, you'd want to wash it away - got it.
Fast forward to modern day and I think we'd do fine to have one kept in service for the rare occasion when they're actually needed to clean dirty streets and I'm thinking so all is not wasted, we convert the rest into Zamboni's....I mean we live in Canada, we'll always have ice to clean, so we can never have too many Zamboni's!!