I have lived in Naperville for almost 40 years, and for most of those years I never noticed the leaf pick-up process. There would be a pile of leaves in the street and they would magically disappear by the time I came home from work. Now that I have retired the leaf guy always seems to come by when I’m getting the mail. It’s difficult to miss him; the truck sounds like a German Panzer Tank rolling through the neighborhood.
I live on a circle, at least that’s what the street sign shows. It’s more like the letter ‘C’. There are probably 20 homes on the ‘C’ (circle). Most of the homes rake their leaves onto the street. I take it a step further. I make sure the leaves are about 18 inches from the curb, and then I water them down to make sure they don’t blow around. A good number of my neighbors do the same thing. Last week the second round of leaf-pick-up occurred. A little snow-plow-like vehicle came around and plowed the leaves about five feet from the curb to the street. No longer did the leaves adhere together, and they became ideal targets for younger drivers to drive through.
A few days later, here comes the same guy, again plowing the leaves, a few inches towards the middle of the street. About an hour later I hear the sound of the German Tank approaching our street. It takes about five minutes for the truck to appear and it’s pulling a leaf sucker upper with a guy sitting on it looking like a statue, no movement, just trying to stay warm.
Here is where it gets interesting. The leaves are getting sucked up into a chute with many leaves not making it to the chute, they are flying out. The leaves that are making into the chute are then blowing out into the truck, with half of those leaves blowing out of the truck. It reminded me of when I mow, and the grass catcher gets full, the clippings begin to fly out. I’m guessing 25 to 30% of the leaves on the street actually make it into the truck. The other 70 to 75% make it back onto the street, except now they are evenly distributed all over the street, rather than in a pile.
No doubt that the company contracted to pick up the leaves is doing the work, but not with the intended results. Another classic example of socially acceptable non-productive work, paid for by the good folks of Naperville.