A Quiet Jackhammer

Jackhammer -wikipediaCharles Brady King has a lot to answer for. For those who are unfamiliar with his name, his invention has surely aggravated you. He invented the damn Jackhammer. That incessant city noise that drives us all mad.

As I write, a bunch on manly brutes are doing what they do best. Digging holes in the road just below my balcony with a pair of extremely noisy jackhammers and really ruining my morning.

Also, have you noticed that these brutes rarely use a jackhammer in the afternoon. It seems to be a special morning thing with them.

Well, where are today’s inventors? Why can’t someone clever invent a quiet jackhammer? And while they’re at it, what about quiet velcro and quiet motorcycles. Lawnmower blades hardly make any noise when cutting grass.

It’s only the motor that makes the blades spin that echoes around six suburbs early on a Sunday morning. Why do lawnmowers have to be powered by noisy two-stoke engines? Why not a motor as quiet as the one in a ceiling fan?

As a race of beings, we have specialised in making noisy things to drive us mad on a daily basis when really we would all prefer a bit of peace and quiet.

My pet hate is the noisy blower thingie that gardeners insist on using to blow leaves from one place to another. And then sometimes, back to where the leaves where in the first place. A very noisy and completely useless device only designed to really pee me off. What was so wrong with a rake?

Now I can hear someone ten floors below me drilling a hole in a concrete wall, clearly with the wrong and very blunt drill bit. I do hope that the picture that finally hangs on their wall was worth waking the dead for an hour.

With all this noise around me this morning it is next to impossible to hear the sirens of the police, ambulance and fire service wailing away in the background.

Oh well. I’ll just have to use my usual solution. Jimi Hendrix at full volume. Ahhhh! Peace at last.

5 thoughts on “A Quiet Jackhammer”

  1. You’ve managed to identify several of my favorite ear-piercing peeves, Derek. I usually think of these instruments of torture as peculiarly American, but a month in Paris this summer set me straight. Motorcycles and scooters–Lord, what a din up and down the Avenue du Maine! Still, I think it’s somehow more prevalent here in the states. Americans seem to love their noise makers, be it lawn blowers or mowers, boom-boxes (blaring rap), or astonishingly loud action-adventure movie soundtracks. Nothing to do but tune it all out with (of course) our iPods. Too weird, the way we generate our own internal racket in order to obliterate the external ones.

  2. You know what noise really gets to me Derek? Its the almost imperceptible thump, thump, thump of a gazillion dollar car sound system in some mindless cretin’s cheap and nasty car five streets way. You don’t so much hear it as feel it, especially at 2.30 in the morning.

    Next to that in the annoying noises stakes comes the sound of the council owned diesel generator running an emergency pumping system which for the last three years has been operating three hundred yards away from here, running 24/7. You’d think that surely they must have fixed that damned leak by now

    I gave up on ear plugs soon after I moved in here. :D

  3. I think there’s a big difference between noise that has a purpose, and noise for someone else’s pleasure. The guy on the jackhammer is likely not enjoying the noise any more than the rest of us, but he’s doing a job and probably not earning much of a living. The lawnmower engine needs a two-stroke to have the guts to cut the grass, whereas the fan only needs to swish through air. I agree that the leaf-blower is a remarkably pointless invention whose noise does not justify its [lack of] effectiveness.

    But the real problem is other people’s music. As Jack says, that distant thump, thump that you don’t hear as much as feel in your chest cavity, should be banned absolutely. I don’t mind people enjoying themselves, but there are clubs where they can destroy their eardrums, they shouldn’t have the right to force that dirge on others.

  4. Also it’s not as if the sledgehammers that the jackhammer replaced were whisper quiet themselves. So if you get a half hour of jackhammer noise versus eight hours of sledgehammers, you might be better off in reality.

  5. I find it amusing that after that rant (I don’t mean anything bad by that; rants can be very enlightening) the first related post is, “Never Write When You’re Drunk.” Very amusing.

    On topic: if I had my ‘druthers, *all* vacuum cleaners would purr. I understand some are pretty quiet nowadays, but ours is not. Putting on my headphones and turning up music really, really loud is the only way to escape the roar when someone is cleaning the house.

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