The phantom menace

To the Editor:

There’s a scourge in Bayonne, a foul racketing beast that escaped the twin portals of hell to devour your peace and your quiet. As you dunk your blueberry muffin into your first cup of Tasters Choice in the morning, watch the soaps in the early afternoon, or ease into the softness of your couch in the early evening after a hard day’s work, what sounds like a chainsaw’s first romantic date with the modified pipe of a Harley-Davidson tears into your world and disrupts all sense of reality. What is this madness that can conquer even the death-metal roar of howler monkeys defending their territory? Leaf-blowers, my friends and neighbors.
Just peek through the blinds and you’ll see the figures down below, power pack bending their spines, straddle-legged as the hoses sweep the sidewalk, shooting muffs protecting their ears as if they were dealing destruction to an unsuspecting village with pounding flames. If you wish to avoid Mozart’s fate, evade that storm; if you are eager to discover what it’s like to live at the bottom of a barrel of gasoline, then head for the dizzy fumes and itchy clouds of dust. The leaves are harried from east to west, or from north to south; rarely are the leaves scooped and jailed within baggy plastic; rarely is heard the scraping sounds of a push broom doing its old-fashioned work.
In a city where the houses jostle one another, and space is certainly a commodity, should we not have more consideration for our neighbors before we decide to rev up our high-powered machinery and rupture an otherwise quiet afternoon? This belies all common sense, not to mention our sense of common decency. Is leaf-blowing a Sisyphean task? Undoubtedly. A waste of money and time and precious human energy? You betcha. Hell on the fragile lungs and a tantrum for the poor tympanum? Just ask your physician ten years from now.
Whether you are a philosopher or an ironworker, when you are within the doors of your home, massaging the bones of your feet, settling into the peace and harmony that is the family home–the gift and privilege and even the right of every hardworking, forward-pushing, time-watching American–why should you have to endure the noisome assault of landscapers or fellow neighbors as they engage in their fruitless war against nature? Friends and neighbors, leave your leaf blowers in the garage, and ask the landscapers to clear your sidewalks using the tried-and-true tools: broom, dustpan, and lawn and refuse bags. I guarantee this will make for a happier community.

EDWIN RIVERA