An article in the New Yorker’s Oct. 25 edition takes aim at Orinda’s leaf-blower wars, and in keeping with the magazine’s often biting perspectives on the eccentricities of modern American life, there are more than a few zingers sprinkled throughout. A sampling:
So a lot of people here will give up their leaf blowers only when you pry them from their cold, dead hands (or, more precisely, from their Hispanic gardeners’ cold, dead hands).
“My husband gets so annoyed he runs out to the fence and blasts our electric leaf blower at the neighbors, and then I have to go unplug Dan.”
“Because we’re not living in Oakland ducking the next hail of bullets, there’s this idea that we’re just some fat-ass fussy busses, rich white people in the suburbs, worrying about a little noise,” he said. “But noise is very powerful. We’ve used Britney Spears songs on Guantánamo Bay prisoners.
“Children exposed to these noise bombs, it’s a disaster: impaired concentration, impaired sleep, inability to learn to read and speak. Children in loud, loud places like East Oakland are the ones who grow up saying, ‘Can I ax you a question?’ ”
The blower battle is particularly in-tense here because Orindans are proud of their city’s vaunted “semirural” character, and like to see themselves as homesteaders. If pressed, they may acknowledge that terrain bisected by a ten-lane highway — State Route 24 — and featuring two Starbucks and a Peets may not demand the grit of a Laura Ingalls Wilder.
In all seriousness, though, it’s a good piece on what happens when neighbors stop being neighborly in one of this region’s more affluent suburbs – definitely worth the read.