Driving down the road with the windows down, enjoying the whisk of the leaves dancing to the Jack Johnson playing through the stereo was certainly making my drive to the grocery store a bit more pleasant. 

As I slowly approached a red light, the scent of a burning cigarette overpowered the clean, crisp air of this fall day. My mind suddenly switched from enjoying the moment to a bit of disgust and even resentment toward the guy in the beat up minivan ahead of me.

My imagination quickly conjured up images of an overweight and grotesque loser, sitting in a dirty kitchen wearing a stained wife beater, smoking a butt while he scowls at his wife over some insignificant detail of his worthless life. His poor kids have to deal with this slob of a father, as they continually have to breathe in the second hand smoke, which is slowly killing them.

As I slip back into reality, I don’t see the glow of his break lights anymore, and notice the light has changed green. At this moment, I see a hand from the beat up minivan’s driver side window extend out and flip a butt onto the road, landing between a Wendy’s cup and McDonald’s Big Mac wrapper. Interestingly, it wasn’t the hand with stubby, pork chop fingers that I had imagined. It was the slender hand of a female with brightly colored nails and a ballerina type grace.

In slow motion, I watch her gently flick the still burning cancer stick through the air and note how it lands in its final resting place alongside the curb, accompanying the dozen or more additional cigarette butts lying there. Is the glowing cigarette going to catch the surrounding leaves and debris on fire? Will the 5 o’clock news be running a story this evening about how the brush along the road went ablaze and burned down an entire town block?

Now a bit heated, I quickly speed up and began pulling alongside the minivan to seek retribution on this evil witch that’s about to burn down our beloved town. Maybe I can pull her over with a citizen’s arrest and then I can reprimand her for her sins. This will certainly stop her from committing such a heinous crime in the future!

Or maybe… maybe, I’ll do nothing. I have now pulled alongside of the minivan to see a cute little blonde oblivious to the situation and enjoying the same Jack Johnson on her radio that I’d been listening to without a care in the world. 

Was I overreacting about the entire situation? She looks to be the same age as I am, and is listening to a musician who promotes being kind to our environment; though she has no problem throwing her trash out the window for someone else to deal with.

As I ponder this thought, I realize that my opportunity to clear my conscience fades as she turns and I’m left perplexed as to why certain individuals believe that the world is their ashtray and feel someone else should clean up for them?