I despise my drive home from work. Actually… I don’t care for driving much at all. No, wait, I do like to like to drive, just not while other drivers are on the road. So it’s other drivers and their carelessness, inability to “flow”, and lack of concern for others around them that I don’t like. My drive from work to home without traffic takes about ten minutes. My drive home, however, takes about twenty minutes. If it is raining or gloomy outside, I don’t expect to get home faster than thirty minutes. For some weird reason, rain and cloudiness causes other drivers to not want to merge. That is a whole different story though, so let me tell you what happened to make me want to write this particular rant.
I was approaching a stoplight and I saw something that shocked me. The person in front of me rolled down his window and threw out trash. Who does that? I think it’s bad enough that I see a driver here and there throw out a cigarette butt (especially during a drought), but this was a handful of plastic this guy threw out. That wasn’t all, either, he stuck his hand out again and threw a little tiny piece of what looked like plastic wrap out as well. Could he really not continue to drive knowing that he had a piece of plastic taking up a Lilliputian amount of space in his car? Yes, I could have used the word “small” but I never get a chance to use “Lilliputian”.
I’m all for keeping my car clean, but I would rather have a dirty car than see trash all over the roads. Where’s a cop when you need one? These litterers clearly don’t care about trashing up my community, but don’t they at least have a bit of fear in them about being caught and fined? I’m afraid to spit my gum out the window when I’m in a car. I even used to get a little nervous when we’re driving our old jeep with the top off, and a leaf or piece of the thirty-three year old sun-roasted flaky vinyl would fly out.
Now, I’m not a tree huggin’, dirt worshipin’ hippie. I don’t go chaining myself to trees to keep them from being cut down. I don’t blame flatulent cows for the hole in the ozone. And I don’t cry if a rare frigid snow beast is relocated if we tap into Alaska’s oil. I just believe in respect.
I have seen all sorts of things strewn on the side of the road. In fact, one morning I saw a glittery (or it could now be considered gLITTERy) hoola-hoop just lying in the median about a block from my house. I also find myself wondering how so many single shoes end up on the road. I imagine people hanging one leg out of the window, and then… Oops! Or maybe a spouse gets mad and is like, “Oh yeah? Well, if you’re going to be buttface, I’m chunking one of your shoes!” I don’t know.
Now, some things are accidents. Like eleven years ago when I was putting my daughter in her car seat, and sat our breakfast from Arby’s on the roof of my car. I completely forgot about it until I heard the styrofoam containers and orange juice carton roll off the top of my car and then I saw them come to rest all over the road behind me. Scrambled eggs were everywhere! This wasn’t a busy road, so I stopped the car and got out and cleaned it up, and took the trash with me. I could never imagine being able to let the stuff just sit there.
Sometimes you have to consider safety though, like one snowy day when I didn’t know the ice scraper was on top of my car. I saw it land on the side of the road, out of the way of anyone’s future tire tracks. It was a very busy road, and there wasn’t a safe place to pull over to go back and get it. While taking a walk with my family, I would much rather find an ice scraper on the curb than a dirty diaper or a beer bottle.
What really upsets me though, is the people who throw trash on the roads don’t give it a second thought. They don’t mind that their trash is scattered all over. They aren’t the ones who pick it up. The city will, or prisoners, or someone doing community service, or even children. I remember when my Student Council group in middle school walked miles of road by our school and picked up trash out of the ditches. It was hot, there was broken glass, and the grass was growing tall so we didn’t know what we would stumble across. We did it because we cared, and wanted to keep our school and the area around it clean.
So I was behind a person who clearly didn’t care if children would be picking up his garbage on the side of a busy highway. What a douche canoe! No, bigger than that… What a douche barge! Maybe one of these days someone will follow that guy home, remember where he lives, and then come back at night and dump a bag of trash on his lawn. I wonder how he would like that.