Bits of green poking up here and there, plants finally emerging from the long dormancy of winter, is a wonderfully welcome sign of spring.
All along our roadways, though, those plants must compete with the unsightly accumulation of trash people have tossed out since last fall. I shake my head in dismay at the ugliness laid bare by the melting snow.
How difficult can it be to set that fast food bag aside for a few moments, and wait to carry it into the house when you arrive home? Why not just put the pop can down beside you, and get rid of it later in your recycling bin? If you’re traveling, is it too much bother to carry a plastic bag with you to fill with rubbish to be emptied into a trash can when you gas up?
Really, you are that blooming lazy and indifferent?
It’s bad enough when that trash is heaved along the open road. What grates on me even more is the garbage that idiots dispose of in people’s yards, including my own.
The other day Diane found a discarded disposable diaper on our property. At least this one was wet, not filled with excrement like the one I found on our lawn a few years back. Tossing a soiled diaper into someone’s yard goes beyond simple inconsideration – that’s pretty much an in-your-face insult.
One summer we could practically count the days of the workweek by the empty 40-ounce beer cans we would find in our lawn. The cans were generally of the same brand, although the drinker apparently switched brands from time to time, and each can was concealed inside a plain brown paper bag just a bit shorter than the can itself.
My theory was that the perpetrator would grab a beer on his way home from work, most likely in or near West Unity, and would finish it about the time he got to our house.
Of course before I mow the lawn I am forced to go along the front of the property collecting the disgusting mishmash of cans, bottles, bags and boxes, all courtesy of the inconsiderate. That chore in and of itself irks me, because it’s far more time consuming than it would have been for the littering party to simply dispose of the items at home. Their laziness takes up my time and effort, and exposes me to their disgusting filth.
I take special care to pick up the discarded fast food bags and assorted plastic bags before mowing. I used to let those go and simply mow over them, shredding them to bits, but a couple of years ago I learned the hard way not to do that. It turned out one paper food bag I ran over was filled with a couple dozen small catsup packets, and the blades sprayed catsup all over the mower deck and rear wheels of the garden tractor.
I recall that I may have added to our rich English lexicon at that point.
If nothing else, people should desire attractive scenery to enjoy along their drive. I’m guessing most of those who litter are locals, and probably make those drives on a regular basis. I for one appreciate the scenery when I travel, especially wildflowers and plant life along the roadsides.
My conclusion is that most people don’t know, or care, that littering is illegal. In Ohio littering is punishable by a fine of $800 and 60 days in jail. I do recall from time to time seeing littering violations listed in the local municipal court news in the Times, but I don’t remember any recent reports.
On at least a couple of occasions I have watched people toss out a can or bottle in front of the house, but I was unable to catch the license plate number. Should I ever catch someone in the act and spot the number, I plan to call in a complaint.
In a case like the serial beer can tosser I would consider setting up a video camera to catch him or her in the act, if for nothing else than a bit of fun, but knowing my luck someone would steal the camera. Or even worse they would drive off the roadway and strike the camera with their vehicle, just like they do all too often with our mailbox.
I suppose, though, there’s really not much I can do beyond complain. I definitely don’t have to grin, but I guess I will have to bear it.
Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.