Friday, June 15, 2001

It's time to stop fussing with templates and begin this little experiment. My best purchase lately was a set of Uvex safety ear muffs, with an OSHA noise-reduction rating of 25 decibels. I begin to think that perhaps a greater reduction factor might have been better. Why do I need them at all? Already-deafened hirelings of the lawn-obsessed stalk about wielding infernal roaring leaf-blowers, chasing one leaf or blade of grass at a time for hours at a time. The screaming overtones of a gasoline-powered device are more bearable only than those produced by an blower powered by an electric cord, which generates the kind of whine that could pierce bullet-proof armor by sound alone. The gas-powered blowers leave a blue cloud and a petroleum stench that can be seen and heard a block away. Closing windows dampens the noise but slightly---hence the ear muffs. Those who hire these hit-and-run landscape artists, of course, take care to be elsewhere while the noise-bombing goes on. These are the same people who have their lawns mown, whacked, and blown once a week because they have automatic sprinkler systems and ignore both voluntary and mandatory watering restrictions, so their grass grows about three times faster and taller than that of their more compliant neighbors. Stroll about the neighborhood in the middle of the night anytime during the summer, and those with sprinkler systems have them running at settings from "secret soak" to "Old Faithful." Old Faithful is reserved to put on a show for legal days. The gardens and lawns of other people languish and grow brown while theirs thrive. Who do they think they're fooling?


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