It is hard to know how well the point got across Tuesday evening after work, when I tried to explain — in Spanish — East Hampton Village’s leaf blower law to a nice young man using one to tidy up the driveway behind The Star.
The blower had begun to howl as I was in the barn, thinking. There was a piece of hardware to mount on a sailboat mast, and I had one shot to drill the holes. Puzzling over a cardboard pattern, my mind went blank. For a moment, it wasn’t even clear what the sound was, but its on-and-off-again rhythm clued me in. Another wailed on the other side of the yard.
Not sure of the rule myself, a quick phone search brought up an article by Jamie Bufalino on our website. Gas-powered blowers may not be used professionally in the village from June 1 to Labor Day, except in the case of disaster, like a hurricane, or in a declared official state of emergency. Fines begin at $250.
I walked down the lane and showed the young man my phone. “Okay,” he said.
“Tu hablas Ingles?” I asked. He said no. Then I rattled on for a bit in Spanish picked up mostly on beer-soaked surfing trips to Mexico. Translated roughly, my gist was, “Those with gasoline are prohibited in June, July, and August. The police don’t like them if some person uses the telephone.”
“Thanks a lot,” he said in Spanish, looking surprised, and walked back through the gate. In a moment, the other blower stopped, and all was quiet again. Well, other than yet another jet approaching East Hampton Airport from the east. I felt bad playing the pesky neighbor, but it had gone well enough, and I thought that the guy had seen me more as tipping him off about the cops than being a pain in the butt. One thing seemed clear, though: That he had no idea about the village law and if his employer did know, the information had not trickled out.
It would not be that difficult for the village to publish the rule on its website in Spanish. I knew enough to check our own reporting then later confirm it by reading Section 196 of the law itself. And by the way, regarding noise, the code plainly prohibits amplified sound, whether music or talking, that could disturb “the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants,” but that will be a column for another day.