Friday, May 11, 2012

Dial Building Phoenix - Leaf Blower Subculture

Speaking of U.S.A. culture.  I was awoken from a nap the other day by the sound of a leaf blower.

Which brought to mind an image and impression associated with a strange looking building in Phoenix.

This all happened some twenty years ago.  We were living in Phoenix for a short time.  I was walking around.  Only a New Yorker would walk around Phoenix.  I believe it was pre-furnace, pre the month of May.

The Dial building as it was called then was supposed to look like a bar of dial soap.  Do they still sell Dial? The image above is taken from a back street with the building itself being on the main drag in town.

At the time Dial Corporation had bought Greyhound Bus Lines of all things.  Before the big bust of the Savings and Loans in the late eighties, there were plans to build a duplicate twin Dial Tower next door to the existing Dial Tower as the headquarters for Greyhound etc.  So much for architectural might and the flavor of the month corporate spreadsheet empires.

Anyway. Walking around, near this building off Central Avenue, I encountered an army of men with leaf blowers blowing leaves and grass clippings.  It was my first encounter with the leaf blower device and its loud noise and it was also my first encounter with what looked like an army of migrant and or illegal labor.

Being from New York, the sight of so many Mexican looking individuals with baseball caps and bandannas over their mouths and noses as their only protections from the fumes, debris and noise of the blowers in the shadow of the big Corporate America office tower and being in the blazing Arizona sun was something to me like being part of some surreal science fiction movie.

I walked on.


1 comment:

  1. Wow. Powerfully written, Mike. And sharply observed. I think you're absolutely right to speak of a leaf-blower culture. And to find it troubling. I wonder if there are other cultures, including technologically advanced ones, that use and rely on leaf blowers to the extent some Americans do.

    I doubt it. And I always wonder, when I'm out raking my hard as I was taught by my parents to do as a child, and enjoying every minute of the raking, why anyone imagines he/she needs a leaf blower.