Monday, November 28, 2011

Leaf Me Alone

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.

leaf pile day 27 movember

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 -- I’m up to $525.


  1. They don't want you burning leaves, but they don't mind putting chemicals in every other thing we use on a daily basis. Gag at a nat, swallow an elephant.

  2. My fellow citizens have the same nasty habit here. It's like, "Um, your grass is going to be dead in a month once 24 inches of snow is dumped on us in a weekend, so what are you so worried about??"

    Most people just rake their piles into the street, but I did see a guy a few weeks back casually blowing his leaves into a main thoroughfare, not even bothering with a pile.

  3. Where's Waldo was never quite this fun.

    Why hasn't the news reached the south that leaves are best contained (or your neighbors will shoot you)? I love watching the short people here abouts. They usually end up half in the bag just trying to get the damn things opened.

  4. You mean you're supposed to dodge the leaves in the street?! Oh. Ohhhh.

  5. "You ignorant foliage-heaping narcissists who keep blocking my way! You people are like inverse hoarders."

    That made me laugh out loud, for real.

    And, I would just drive right through those piles of leaves!

  6. My kids still jump in the leaf pile. I have pictures of them every year in the pile. (This year was action photos AND they invited their friends) We rake it right over the retaining wall into the street....

    ...onto our tarps so we can properly remove them. We live on a dead end dirt road, so there's really not much of an issue here.


  7. I'm really jealous of you. Since I live in Houston, most of the leaves here are still on the trees. They eventually drop, around January when it's finally too cold for us to have much fun outside.

    In the meantime be wary of the squirrels all jacked up on the acorns. They can get pretty nutso.


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