After four years as a resident of Isla Vista and a UCSB student, I will grudgingly leave our lovely beachside community this June. With me I will take many things, all of which I hope will guide me through whatever lies beyond.
I will also be leaving with one haunting neurosis.
I am afraid of, annoyed by and generally pissed off at power tools.
It all started one Tuesday morning in June of 2000. At 7 a.m., 45 minutes before I had to be awake for my first real job, a leafblower roared to life directly outside of my bedroom window, about two feet from my head.
I also roared to life, cussing out the poor gardener outside of my window before my roommate told me to shut the fuck up and stop blaming the poor gardener.
After that, I sort of settled into a mutual agreement with the gardeners of Isla Vista properties – I would refrain from cursing them out, and they would come only on Tuesday mornings, when I was prepared for the rude awakening.
Now, this agreement lasted through my junior year on Del Playa Drive, even when I witnessed two Ron Wolfe employees actually blow the cigarette butts and beer cups into a pile and then off the cliff into the ocean. I didn’t even flinch when the same “gardeners” blew dust into my bedroom and front doors.
Being in my senior year, with my level of work and general responsibility heightened, I opted to live with just one other person in a two-bedroom apartment located on the corner of Camino Pescadero and Trigo Road. When school began, I realized that I was not on a quiet corner, but I was OK with the throngs of freshmen walking to DP, the coked-up neighbors at 3 a.m., even the band practice, all seemingly adjacent to my bedroom window. I bought some earplugs and dealt with the noise.
But no one and nothing can prepare a person for the sound of power tools before 8 a.m. – and every morning of the week. It’s no longer just leafblowers, either. The properties on the four corners adjacent to my house apparently need to be groomed with weedwhackers and lawnmowers. Once one stops, another starts. And doesn’t stop until about 10 or 11 a.m.
It’s not as if I sleep until noon; I have a fairly normal schedule (early, by I.V. standards). And I do appreciate the landlords’ efforts to make their properties at least appear inhabitable from the outside.
But we all pay good – too much – money to live in this community. For all the shit we put up with, the one thing you would think landlords could guarantee us is a good morning’s sleep. I guarantee you that this would never happen in a neighborhood in Montecito or even Goleta; the residents would not stand for it. I understand that it probably would cost a few extra bucks in manpower to sweep our neighborhoods, so I have another suggestion, though I would readily support the banning of these evil, evil power tools.
Certain politicians maintain that an earlier noise curfew could help curb rowdier partygoers, though anyone who has stayed in I.V. for more than five minutes would recognize the sheer stupidity in that assumption. Instead, why don’t we just extend it to 9 a.m. (it’s currently 7 a.m.). Or, we could also ban the tools in the morning.
Either way, I will be cursed to shudder at the sound of a leafblower powering up for the rest of my life.
Don’t let this terrible curse befall the next UCSB generation.
Marisa Lagos is the Daily Nexus features editor. Nature hath no fury like Marisa awakened too early.