I don’t get leaf blowers.

Raking leaves is a two-part process.  Step One:  Rake leaves into a pile.  Step Two:  Bag leaves.

On a balmy Pittsburgh November morning, Step One can be downright pleasant.  The heat of the summer is behind you, and with a sweatshirt on you brave the crisp November air.  I’ve always thought they should add raking leaves sounds to those sleep machines that play waves crashing, birds chirping, and rain falling.  It’s every bit as soothing.

Step Two is the backbreaker.  Getting your lovely piles of leaves off your lawn and into trash bags will break your back and destroy your sanity.  Scooping the leaves into the bag requires you to bend over approximately one thousand times per bag.  No matter what method you use—pushing the leaves into the bag with a broom, or scooping them up with a rake, 75% of every scoop ends up back on the ground and not in the bag.  You can always get on your knees and pick up the leaves with your hands, but that adds about 5,000 more scoops to the process.

It’s enough to have you hauling out a chainsaw and cutting down every tree you see. 

The leaf blower takes pleasant Step One and replaces that soothing noise with a ridiculously loud motor that is interrupting all of your neighbor’s work-from-home conference calls. 

For Step Two, it does nothing at all.

I don’t need a leaf blower.  I need a leaf sucker.

Last week, I was out taking one of many walks while waiting for the election returns to come in when I saw what I longed for.

A leaf sucker.

They’re actually called leaf vacuums, and they’re leaf blowers with the ability to suck instead of just blow.  They have an attachment with a wide mouth to suck up the leaves, and a cloth backpack that holds the sucked-up leaves.

Yes, such a thing exists.  A neighbor had one, and after a brief conversation I was immediately off to Lowe’s to purchase one.

I strapped it on and looking like a Ghostbuster, I went to work, sucking every leaf in my yard and my neighbor’s yard, just for the fun of it.

No more bending over, no more scooping.  If you really want the joy of Step One, you can rake the leaves into the pile and then suck them up, but I just swept back and forth across the yard like a weirdo at the beach with a Geiger counter looking for loose change.

When I was through, I unstrapped the cloth backpack, unzipped it and dumped it into a waiting plastic trash bag…where half of the leaves missed the bag and ended up back on the ground.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.