The Obsessive Leaf Blower and How he Makes my Ears Bleed

Today’s Daily Prompt is to “write down the first sight, sound, smell, and sensation you experienced on waking up. Pick the one you’re most drawn to, and write. (For a bigger challenge, pick the one you’re least drawn to.)” As you may or may not know, I feed off of challenges, so I have taken it upon myself to describe the sense I was least attracted to upon waking: the sound of an effing leaf blower.  

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Attending the University of Oregon has by no means put an end to my nomadic lifestyle: Over the past four years, I have lived in five places, moving from a two-person apartment to a house, from the five-bedroom house to a seven-bedroom mansion (I lived in the attic), from the baby-blue-mansion-with-a-red-door to a one-bedroom apartment, and from the apartment to a funky studio. With hindsight, I shouldn’t have bounced from the first joint – note to self: once you find a good landlord, stay put – but had I not, I wouldn’t have this lovely topic to write about: the fact that leaf-blowers make my ears bleed.

The studio I currently occupy and the last apartment I lived in are one-block apart, and although this made moving a touch easier, it also means I haven’t escaped the obsessive-compulsive Leaf Blower. And I kid you not, this Leaf Blower truly does have therapy-worthy leaf-blowing issues: nobody – no matter the pay – walks around blowing leaves off the pavements, away from the parking lots, and far from the gutters, 22 hours a day. Nobody. Well, nobody but this guy.

I give Mr. Obsessive Leaf Blower the stink-eye from my little kitchen window, but he’s so fixated on the leaves to notice. I also yell impolite remarks to him from my bed, but he’s fortunate enough to have been issued a pair of I-mean-business ear muffs when he’s doing his thang to hear anything but his own, presumably pleasant, thoughts. Combined, my unseen glare and unheard revolts amplify the painfully loud and obnoxious drone of the leaf blower monster, which simply intensifies the sting of my ear drums. They literally bleed.

I do not know why Mr. O. L. B. feels inclined to blow blow blow away at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and snack-times, too, but I do know that he needs to find a new hobby: raking, or knitting, perhaps. On a Saturday morning, my ears are particularly not conducive to the deep growl of a leaf blower, and I’m not sure how much longer my ear drums will be willing to hang in there. Sure, the sound ensures I get to my weight-lifting class on time, but I most definitely don’t need a three-hour window of preparation: the gym is just around the corner, my cereal bar and apple are poised, and my clothes are ready-and-waiting on my dresser.

I can see how clearing the path of leaves could be therapeutic – for me, cleaning anything brings unparalleled satisfaction that is sure to defog the mind – but blowing leaves from one end of the parking lot to the other and back again – I swear he does this; he simply must – is not on. Thanks, but no thanks.

Please, no more bloody ears: Give the leaf blower a break; use a rake.

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