Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rant o'the Day

More things that drive me crazy: people who throw cigarette butts out their car windows. This makes me insane. I drive 48 miles to work and back and I swear I see this at least ten times a day. I just don’t get it—why is that okay? No moderately educated person today (okay, very few people) would throw a fast food bag, soda can, or even a tissue out their car window (at least in the midst of rush-hour traffic!)—so why is a cigarette okay? Is it the size? Do these people think that a butt is so small it won’t matter? Because it’ll just disintegrate? Or that there are already so many of them there, why not add another one to the pile?

A quick search on this topic returned dozens of stories of people causing fires by throwing their butts out car windows. One guy in Washington threw a cigarette out and caught the grass on fire in front of a state employee mowing and just about killed the guy and set the mower on fire. My favorite story is of the guy who set his own car ablaze when the cigarette he discarded landed in his backseat.
Then there’s the cost to REMOVE the ciggy butts from the sides of roads (‘cause they don’t just magically disappear, Mr. Inconsiderate Smoker—or end up in our rivers via storm drains, which would be oh so much better for you, as you wouldn’t have to see them again). According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it costs $2.3 million to remove the more than 11.7 thousand tons of litter from Ohio’s state highways each year.
An ODNR study finds “about 21 percent of the total litter weight on interchanges was comprised of cigarette butts. The majority was on urban interchanges where 25 percent of total tons of litter were cigarette butts.”
I really don’t care if people smoke; that’s not the issue. I don’t particularly want to stand next to you while you’re doing it, but if you want to smoke, that’s your right. Lord knows I have my own addictions (as my dealers Ben and Jerry would confirm). But you don’t see me throwing empty Chunky Monkey pints out my car window.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to make smokers stop doing this. Maybe we can take matters into our own hands, literally, like my friend Katherine did years ago. We were in line at the McDonald’s drive-through when a guy in the truck in front of us threw his cigarette on the ground. Katherine stopped mid-sentence, hopped out of my car, picked up the butt and handed it to him, saying, “You dropped something.” He was speechless. (I was speechless.) I guess that’s what it’ll take for these inconsiderate smokers to realize that the rest of us don’t appreciate them using the great outdoors as their ashtray. Or maybe we’ll just have to bring back those crying Indian commercials from the ‘70s.

1 comment:

Blobby said...

Didn't you see The Office when Meredith threw a bag of chips out her car window?

"My car. My rules." It was HILARIOUS.