I may be a New Hampshire native, but ever since moving to Maine a little while ago, I've really come to love the area. Not that I ever didn't love Maine, but obviously visiting a neighboring state and living in it are two different experiences.

I love how quiet and lowkey my neighborhood is, perfect for walking my dog, Remy, around, on a nice day, but also not so quiet that it seems like a town that's been abandoned and should have tumbleweed blowing across the street.

Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash
Photo by Luismi Sánchez on Unsplash

In fact, living in a time where most kids refuse to go outside because they're too distracted by whatever electronic device they're latching onto, it's almost comforting to see kids riding bikes around the neighborhood. It provides a quick mental flashback to my own childhood in a similar neighborhood.

It's also the type of neighborhood where you see neighbors (who are all amazing, by the way) go on regular walks. That was the case yesterday while I was in my front yard raking leaves and noticed this adorable couple I routinely see -- the husband slowly riding his bike alongside or just in front of his wife, who strolls on foot on the sidewalk.

As always, I saw them and felt myself get the same "maybe someday" hopeful-for-the-future smile on my face I get every time I see them, but unlike other times where we usually exchange a quick "hello," this conversation, while still quick, was a bit more extended.

And I may have discovered a new kind of underlying shaming that exists within longtime Mainers toward a younger crowd moving into the state, based on the brief dialogue I had with the wife.

Husqvarna USA / MangoStar_Studio
Husqvarna USA / MangoStar_Studio

I love seeing someone out here raking leaves.

Assuming it was a compliment to taking pride in how my lawn/home in general looks, I stopped raking, looked up, and smiled.

Oh yeah?

I readied myself for the compliment, wiping the sweat off my brow with pride, especially since I had beaten my neighbor to the punch so you could see the clear divide of our property line, with his still a bit leaf-covered and mine bare as could be.

Absolutely. There's too much of this.

The "this" she was referring to was making the motion of using a leaf blower. The irony of the compliment -- just minutes before, I was in my backyard using a leaf blower, due to the massive oak that's pretty much shed all its leaves already. And, for whatever reason, I felt the need to throw myself under the bus.

Oh, well, I'm actually guilty of that, too, because of the massive oak in the back. But, I mean, I still went over it with a rake after! I mean, I just want to make you proud, you know?

The last sentence may have been too much, though. Because, even as I smiled while saying it, she either wasn't impressed or took it as tossing a bit of snark at her, which wasn't at all my intention.


Regardless, she did sweetly respond, "Thanks so much, you too!" when I wished her and her husband a great rest of their weekend, but for the rest of the time I was out raking and bagging leaves, I wondered if "leaf blower shaming" is actually a thing with OG Mainers.

Do the more salt-of-the-earth Mainers judge others who don't just rely strictly on a rake and elbow grease to clear their lawn, but use the help of some kind of equipment as well?

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