To the Editor:
[What follows is unkind to Princeton’s hard-working professional lawn mowers, but it was written during a 7:30 a.m. cutting/blowing. It is really about the rest of us.]
I like getting my act going by 7:30 or so in the a.m., half hour before legal, make sure folks know I’m here. Within a couple of minutes I take a whole quiet block and turn it into something that makes Newark Airport sound like a country club on a Sunday morning. You want decibels? I’ll give you noise your ears won’t forget. Get a couple of my super-riders going at the same time and you know the night is gone. Yards here are the perfect size, big enough to take a while, small enough to keep you in earshot of 20 neighbors. Seems like forever to you but then comes the real fun. That’s when I crank up my leaf blowers. Remember rake and broom? Nothing really much to blow, but we like three blowers at once so you think we’re really doing something, and it’s like a Boeing plant right here on your own property. We do a regular symphony, one blower high, one low, one just going up and down, turn ‘em off and on, get the rhythm really going. Nobody dozing in this concert hall. You can see raccoons and possums hustle off down toward the lake, the birds start shrieking just to hear each other, the dogs get to barking. It’s a regular neighborhood party. If you left a window open, you’ll slam it shut fast. If you’re drinking hot coffee listening to the morning news, you can quit right now. Can’t hear it anyway, can’t even swallow. If you missed a full night’s sleep, don’t want to go to work, you’ll hustle right off anyway to the quiet of a good office. We can raise your blood pressure a full ten points, dilate your pupils, give you bloodshot eyes like a cartoon character, reconfigure the relationship between you and your wife, make you carp at your kids. You’ll wish they’d never invented grass. I think about this while I’m working. It keeps me going. When I’m done I just mosey on three or four houses further down and do it all over again. All day long.
What’s fun is, folks, you’ve got a fancy-written public nuisance code. Makes it “unlawful for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continued any loud, continuous or excessive noise or any noise which … annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others within Princeton.” It guarantees that blowers be “adequately muffled.” Love that word, “adequately.” Words, words, we know who’s boss. Grass gotta be short. Laws or no laws, me and my machinery, we’re home free.