By Tommy Magliozzi

It occurred to me the other day that many folks may never have been introduced to the Hose Job--i.e., the fine art of "sweeping" one's driveway without a broom. My grandmother on my mother's side (Annina Camelio, by name) taught this old secret technique to me when I was a mere lad. Grandma would spend endless hours "sweeping" the driveway and the sidewalk in front of our house in old East Cambridge (our Fair City). The technique, of course, involves water--thousands of gallons of the precious fluid, emitted from the business end of a garden hose. (In those days, water wasn't considered as "precious" as it is now, and I suppose this is the reason that the art has been lost.)

So, for those who live in areas of the world where water is still plentiful, I present here--in words and actual photographs, the art of the Hose Job--as it was taught to me, lo, those many years ago.

Photo 1: Photo 1

Please note the cigar. Whether you are male or female, a cigar is a sine qua non of this activity. You needn't light it, but it must be carried in the hand or mouth.

Begin slowly, for the "sweeping" is merely an excuse for the true underlying meaning of this activity. The Tao of hose sweeping is meditation and the pondering of the imponderables of the universe. The day must be perfect (for me, the closer to 100 degrees the better. You must determine the definition of the "perfect" day for yourself.) A weekend is also perfect. Saturday is better than Sunday, because on Saturday you may be compelled to do "chores." The simple act of choosing to hose-sweep INSTEAD of doing chores is crucial to the success of the activity.

Photo 2
Photo 2:

Begin with a simple back-and-forth motion, as shown here. Note how the middle of the hose is "cradled" in the left arm. Relaxation is key. As is clothing. Note the simple--but stylish--"outfit."

Photo 3Photo 3:

Zen Gardener-1 Here you see the Forward Swoosh. This motion is used to push the dirt, sand and other debris on your driveway toward some point about 10 to 12 feet in front of you. Start with the stream of water close to the feet and gently raise the hand (using the wrist only) so that the stream of water travels away from you. There is no good reason for doing this. So, just do it. You might try repeating, "OMMMM, OMMM, OMMM," as you do it.

Photos 4 and 5
Zen Gardener 2Photos 4,5:

Trouble Spots. Frequently in hosing, as in life, one encounters Trouble Spots; these are conditions or issues that appear to require special attention. Photos 4 and 5 depict the common approach to such issues. Note in photo 4 that the Trouble Spot has been identified and the stream of water is being aimed directly at it (the Focused Stream Technique--FST). Note too the look of determination on the face. The Trouble Spot has my rapt attention. In photo 5, this approach is exaggerated. All my attention has been focused on the Trouble Spot. Note especially the proximity of the water stream to the trouble spot (the Intense Focused Stream--IFS). (When these Trouble Spots engage all one's attention, the cigar frequently falls out of the mouth. Not to worry--simply pick it up out of the puddle and put it back in the mouth.)

Photos 6 and 7
Zen Gardener 3Photos 6, 7:

These two photos depict a more Zen-like approach to the Trouble Spots. In photo 6, quite a cavalier pose has been struck, wouldn't you say? Indeed, this is known as the Cavalier Posture--CP. And photo 7? Why, a downright childlike, playful approach is quite apparent (the Playful Posture--PP). Here we see the classic Zen attitude toward Trouble Spots. (In California there exists a "pose" similar to this--known as the LBA--Laid-Back Attitude. Be not fooled by their similarities, for the California method is, as the Zen masters say, a "cheap imitation"). The true CP and PP can be developed only through many years of practice. As you practice and slowly, over the years, refine the Hose Job, you will find that the mind approaches a state of pure Nirvana. All contact with the known universe ceases. Imponderables become ponderable. The unknown becomes known. The feet become wet. You will be truly Unencumbered by the Thought Process. All will be right with the world. Solutions to problems will emerge without your feeble attempts at intervention.

Relax. Go with the "flow" (so to speak).