People who move to inner city neighborhoods likely do so because of convenience to jobs and entertainment options. Not content to overshadow us with McMansions, they bring their suburban accouterments to poison us. Our new reality involves leaf blower fumes, exhaust from oversized SUV’s and low hanging haze generated by mammoth wood burning fireplaces.
Autumn, once hailed as the perfect time of the year, has become imperfect. With the first indication of its arrival, leaf blowers descend like vultures, marching the dead leaves down the curb to fill city storm sewers. The blower handlers have a vindictive streak and an unspoken agreement to begin the process in unison and at the first sign of daylight. The noise multiplied many times over is deafening. The dust from the dormant leaves lying in rooftop gutters and lawns introduce gale force sneezing. Leaf dust and pollen blanket my car. My eyes itch, nose drips and I am faintly deaf in one ear.
Shopping at the mall bring new challenges. SUV’s occupy one and one half parking slots. I avoid parking next to the behemoth with the banged up door on the driver’s side and a king cab pickup truck. I complete my shopping, return to the parking lot to discover SUV’s bullying me on all sides. I have no sightline on either side or in back, where two oversized pickup trucks take up four spots. I ease out of the spot while cursing the drivers of the giant trucks thus creating bad parking karma for myself.
Happy to return to the sanctity of home I head for the patio to relax with an adult beverage and take in the beauty of the changing colors of the surrounding trees. A faint hint of smoke sends me indoors to locate its source. Convinced all is well, I return to the patio to find it enveloped in a cloud of wood burning haze. Autumn brings forth an unspoken invitation to strike a fire in the fireplace in ye old McMansion. Smoke from a wood burning fireplace in a densely populated metropolitan area has no place to go. It wafts about; ratcheting up the air quality index to maroon.
I have barely recovered from the leaf blower assault earlier in the day. My nerves are still fragile from fighting oversized autos that threaten to swallow my Honda. I am beyond angered that I am unable to enjoy my patio due to asphyxiation from smoke.
Emigrees to the city should regard the following:
- Big box home improvement stores sell leaf-mulching machines. Buy one.
- There are no off road hazards in the city. Leave the hummer at home.
- If you desperately have to have a wood burning fire, go camping.
Maybe it’s not too late to recapture autumn, the perfect time of the year.