It is a still, warm, October day, and I am an hour early to pick my daughter up from school. I park in a shady spot in front of the school and pull out my current library book, A Year in Provence. Car windows open, I almost feel like I’m sitting on the patio outside the little café that Peter Mayle so lusciously describes. Birds whistle and caw, leaves whish in a gentle breeze. I can taste Peter’s potato and onion galette and chocolate tart.
Another early mom takes the shady spot next to me. After a while, I notice that she hasn’t turned off her car engine. Rural France now smells like downtown LA, not to mention the constant whir of the motor. Other Early Mom must want to run her air conditioner. If she’d roll her windows down, she’d realize that she doesn’t need to. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I assume she suffers from allergies and drive to a spot behind the school where I happen to know of some secret shade. Ahh, back to Provence.
Merde! A leafblower! One house up the street, someone’s yard maintenance man is blowing fall leaves onto the sidewalk. The lawn looks perfect. Yes! He must be almost done. He puffs everything down the driveway and walks across the street to what I assume is his truck. While I’m wondering why he hasn’t turned the blower off, he passes the truck and starts blowing another yard. Multiple jobs! Merde!
My biggest pet peeve is scary commercials during family-friendly TV shows, but leafblowers come in a close second. No, not a pet peeve, a scourge of society. Really, people. Pick up a freaking rake. It’s lighter, environmentally friendlier, and, for Pete’s sake, it doesn’t drown out the birds and the breeze with a constant whine. If I want a constant whine, I’ll blog.
In my own townhouse complex, every Tuesday the yard maintenance men blow all the dust and candy wrappers from the parking lot into our small yards, apparently not caring that my potted plants end up decorated like tiny landfill Christmas trees. Not only am I stuck in the house until the exhaust and dust storm settles, but I know the sorry state my garden will be in when I do go out. I have half a mind to borrow a leafblower, wait in my yard next Tuesday, and have a wind war. Oh yeah? Blow this!
Autumn has always been my favorite season, largely because of nature’s colorful ticker tape parade. We have ruined the joy of falling leaves. Wherever leaves fall, you can be sure that a leafblower will be there to make sure we don’t enjoy them.