Who do you think you are?
That’s the question I’d ask the thoughtless driver of the red sedan, driving north on Highway 101 last week.
It was during the evening commute home, and I was cruising through the darkness, trailing the taillights ahead of me as the radio chattered quietly in the background.
Suddenly, a tiny orange glow flips through air and bounces off the pavement, erupting in a shower of sparks.
What was it?
A cigarette butt, tossed cavalierly out the window by someone who apparently doesn’t know the difference between a public highway and their backyard patio.
I’ll ask again: Who do you think you are?
King of the castle, lord of the manor and czar of the land, privileged to abuse the countryside however you see fit?
I already have a short tolerance for smokers.
If it was up to me, smoking would be banned in every indoor and outdoor place that presents even the most remote chance for public use.
But this kind of behavior only makes a loathsome activity 10 times worse.
It’s one thing for you to make a personal choice to engage in a habit that will damage your health.
And it’s certainly isn’t good that the habit also pollutes our air and can damage the health of others nearby.
But what kind of gall does it take for you to chuck your burning litter out the window at 65 mph where at best it only adds to the highway trash and at worst sparks a wildfire?
This level of carelessness for the common good is simply staggering, and it’s not limited to smoker drivers.
We’ve also got smoker walkers who flick their butts on the sidewalk and smoker beach-goers to whom lying on the sand must be some sort of cigarette-disposing nirvana.
It may feel like you’re ensconced in the middle of a giant ashtray, but guess what? You’re not.
So to anyone who would casually discard the remains of their cigarettes anywhere they like, please stop.
If it means you need to Velcro an ash bag to your belt, do it.
If it means you need to — gasp! — not smoke until you get somewhere with a proper trash can, do it.
If it means you need to build pyramids of butts on your dashboard, do that.
We all need a sense of responsibility and stewardship for this land we share.
If you want to spoil property, make sure it’s yours, not ours.
What do you think? Share your thoughts here.
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