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Noise Ordinances

Saturday, November 17, 2007
Both of my readers who actually know me probably also know that the list of "Things That Irritate Burton" is a full day's reading. However, near the top (somewhere between "other people" and "stupidly low speed limits") are "leafblowers".

After a nice, long, mostly peaceful walk today, I can say with some certainty that these are a tool of the devil. I say, "nice work, Dante, but it's been like 800 years and your list needs updating." So I propose we get rid of "lust"(since it's my favorite) and replace it with "using leafblowers". And all those who use them shall be punished accordingly. (Like, by having their fingernails chewed off by termites while having to listen to jet engines taking off... for all of eternity.)

So yes, they irritate me. On my walk through a nice neighborhood I was able to hear a leafblower over a block and a half away, as some gentleman (see: irony) was using this tool to move leaves around in his yard. Yes, that's right, everyone in a 300-foot radius knew that it was his time to do yardwork. I thought to myself, "that's awfully darn loud... I wonder if there's a noise ordinance around here?" Lo and behold, there is! Now, I didn't have a decibel meter on me, but I'm pretty sure this was approaching jet-engine levels of noise, and therefore violated the noise ordinance. I wish I could have notified the authorities. (Of note, it seems that Portland also has a noise ordinance. Good to know!)

A block further up the street I encountered another gentleman (no irony in this one) who was shoveling leaves into a yard debris recycling bin. I noticed other implements of yard destruction laying around, and the following conversation took place:

Me: "Are you actually cleaning up your leaves with a rake?"
Him (glancing up the block at Mr. Leafblower): "Yes."
Me: "God bless you, sir."

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