Drivers are white knuckling around my fair 'burb these autumnal days, employing the most important skill the Department of Motor Vehicles never tested them on: defensive leaf pile dodging.
Sure as the days are grower shorter, our local streets are becoming narrower than a stripper’s butt floss. Every trip for groceries requires channeling one's inner Lindsey Vonn to navigate an asphalt slalom between the driveway and the Stop & Shop. Meanwhile, rush hour resembles a live-action version of Mario Kart except the flying turtle shells are replaced by acorn-addicted squirrels leaping frantically at our vehicles from the roadside crack dens we have heaped along the curbside for them.
However, the bobbing and the weaving and the periodic near-death experience with oncoming vehicles doesn't bother me quite as much as ... oh, how do I phrase this delicately ...
You ignorant foliage-heaping narcissists who keep blocking my way!
You people are like inverse hoarders. Instead of stuffing every square inch of your property with others' castoffs, you blow, rake and dump your junk right smack in the middle of the public thoroughfare. Someone needs to get a TLC reality-show crew out here before Jim Bob Duggar knocks up his wife yet again an- ... what?
He did? She is? Man -- another shot at undeserved stardom blown.
I think "ignorant" is the key word I spit out back there. My city spends roughly $200,000 a year on leaf collection but precious little on educating its residents that safely navigable roads might be more important than naked lawns. For example, the leaf pickup instructions on my city's website state only that leaves must be “brought to the curb." Given the overwhelmingly liberal political tendencies of our residents, this is interpreted as "anywhere between opposing gutters is fair game."
One of our neighboring towns, with its wealthy citizenry of strict constructionists, lays down the law far more explicitly. Its public notice clearly states leaf piles should be "at the shoulder, off the pavement of the road." Unfortunately, no one there reads these notices to the under-the-table help toiling around his or her McMansion.
It wasn’t always this way. Municipal leaf pickup arose in these parts from the environmental movement of 1960s, culminating in the Clean Air Act of 1970. Before then, many people would gather the fallen foliage and set it aflame. They'd stand there, smiling proudly, sucking in the smoky autumn aroma with a cigarette in one hand and freshly mixed Manhattan in the other. That's Big Government for you. Always infringing on our right to poison ourselves.
Before striking the match, though, a dutiful citizen back then would first check the leaf pile for small children. That's not so much of a concern today, and not just because of the burning ban. Kids don't play in leaf piles much anymore, and that's a good thing. First, no one wants Junior to host a dinner party for Lyme disease-infested deer ticks. Second, most kids these days know better than to play in traffic.
Look closely at the photo and you’ll see the Movember State of the ‘Stache Day 27. Don’t forget to donate to support the fight against prostate cancer and other issues affecting men’s health at my Mo Space -- http://mobro.co/uncool. I’m up to $525.