Please Don't Litter

The bumper stickers and decals make it sound like a polite request: Please don't litter. I don't. I have proof in my truck. Trust me, there is a floor under all the garbage.

Drive down the road a bit, and you'll see a nice, white sign that reads "$100 FINE FOR LITTERING."

Nice and polite just turned into ugly and threatening. Why?

Didn't everyone's momma teach their children where to throw their trash? No, probably not, or littering is something teenagers do to rebel. Or maybe some people would rather not use the floor of their vehicles as rolling garbage cans like I do.

But, is it that big of a problem? Sure, it could be and it would be if everyone just forgot their good sense and started throwing trash wherever and whenever. I sure don't see it as that big of a problem, and it gives the prisoners a way to get out in the sun while wearing their fashionable striped outfits. And yes, if everyone thoughtlessly pitched their trash, it would definitely begin to have an impact on everyone's lives. So, as far as rules go, it's a good one.

I sure do like it a lot better when I'm politely asked not to litter. Not that I would anyway. But, I am tempted to rebel and toss something, anything out the window when I'm threatened with a fine or threatened with arrest.

Fear stops me dead in my tracks, and my rebellion dies down. If I did manage to get pulled over for littering, which I won't because I don't, I'd be a bit nervous, just like any other time I've been pulled over.

If I was doing something 'wrong,' I admit it right away and get on with the process. I was stopped twice for the same blown-out brake light. The first time, I was shaking in my shoes because I had no idea why I was being pulled over.

I was stopped one time after playing in a town over an hour's drive from home and because my eyes were shot from very dried out contact lenses, I had to go through the sobriety test. I was tired, my back hurt, it wasn't the best of nights playing, and I was worried about being too tired to drive. So, I got belligerent. I told the cop to wait a few minutes for my bass player who will be driving by because he's about as drunk as you can get and still walk, I was so pissed.

After another night of playing, I sat at this red light not a half mile from home, and the dang thing wouldn't give me a green. Again, I was tired, my back was killing me, and I had to pee like crazy. After sitting there for as long as I could tolerate, I looked around, saw no one, and went through the light and turned up my road. I get a couple hundred yards up the road, and you guessed it, I was pulled over. "I gotta pee, yes I ran the stuck light, just got done playing all night, didn't drink and please, if you want to talk with me, can you follow me to my house so that I can at least pee?" Flashlight hit my back seat with my guitars, microphone stand, chord bag, then straight into my eyes and then flashed onto the tags on my windshield.

I see a uniform and I am immediately uncomfortable. Casualty of my hippy days, I suppose. Hippies are always, always afraid of anything resembling The Establishment. I have no idea what that means, but I caught the fear of the uniform anyway.

What I don't get, what totally boggles my mind, is why it is illegal to drive without a seatbelt. I can understand suspicion of driving while intoxicated as a reason to pull someone over, and I'm damned glad that happens. A drunk could kill my son or me or you or your kids or pets or ... Idiots drive drunk. But to be pulled over, cited and fined for not wearing a seatbelt? Who does that hurt?

Only me. It wouldn't even have an effect on passengers in my car if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. It sure doesn't have an effect on other drivers because I'm not driving impaired. So, what is the point? The Establishment is so concerned about my life that they feel I need to be pulled over, cited and fined for endangering myself? I doubt it.

You know, as soon as we start taking away a right, it becomes much easier to take away another and another and another until we are no longer free. As soon as you think that your rights are more important than my rights is when neither one of us are free.

Maybe none of this ridiculousness would've started if we had only listened to our mothers. And, goshdarnit, just throw your trash on the car floor!


  1. It's a 300 dollar fine where I live. Carole you sound like a cop magnet...lol. I got pulled over for going through a stuck red light also and then he decided he would take me around the block a few times to show me how to trigger it the next time. Now wasn't that wonderful of him? Can't recall if he gave me a ticket or a warning.

  2. No, I don't think I'm a cop magnet - that's almost all the times I've been pulled over in my 35 years of driving! None have ever been as nice to me as yours was though.

    Who's Carole?

  3. Hi Theresa (I thought your nick somewhere is Carole hehe ), Oh oh, i don't drag myself into any cop thing. the logo is there now :) thanks for keeping the "love" rolling! you'll make many happy :)

  4. I've had to take a few sobriety tests myself! In college, it seems the police were always out to get us.

    I also like things neat and clean. No dirty dishes in the sink before we go to bed. So I can't stand it when I see trash on the side of the road while driving down the highway.

    In addition to a hefty fine, they should make the people who litter use a weekend to pickup trash.

  5. @mom811, yes I've picked up the logo and will get it up soon. Thanks again!

    @Paul, have you ever heard of anyone actually paying the litter fine because they were pulled over for it? There may be signs and stickers and details, but I suspect that no one enforces that particular law.

    It goes right along with "don't wipe your snotty nose on your sleeve, get a tissue" kind of thing. Do Not Litter is the next thing moms drive their kids nuts about until it finally sinks in. It's part of the culture.

    Case in point: The gas survey crews around here, being Mexican in origin, left their piles of garbage everywhere they went, and not small piles either. Fast food bags, wrappers and cups, drink cans and bottles and even dirty shirts were everywhere. Now that they are no longer surveying, no more garbage.

  6. Hi Theresa,

    I haven't been to your blog for awhile, it looks amazing! At the risk of sounding like a geek, it's beautiful.

    When I was a kid, our littering fines are $500 I saw the sign and threw some trash out the window. My Mother flipped out and I said she could be fined! I said, "I thought it meant it was fine and they would give me money." I learned my lesson that day...

  7. Deanna, it's great to see you! Don't you just miss being so young and innocent? And, wouldn't it be great to get paid for our trash!! That's a good one!

    I'll take your geeky comment and give you back a big thank you!