Litterbugs Drive Me Crazy

Since I’ve lived in NJ, a lot of things have driven me nuts (see previous posts), but one of the biggest things is litterbugs. People throw everything out of their windows here. It’s ridiculous. No wonder it’s considered the armpit of America with all the litter!

At least when I was back in NC I had an outlet for my litter-rage. There we have the Swat-A-Litterbug program where you can report litterbugs to the highway patrol. In return, the highway patrol sends them an official letter detailing that a fellow citizen witnessed their littering activity and providing details on the fines associated with littering in the state. Yeah, I know they can just wad that up and throw it out their window too, but it’s something. In NJ, there’s nothing.

So, 2 days ago, I was on my way to work riding behind this Whited Chevy HH mini-SUV. The person in the front is smoking. I can tell by the chimney of smoke filtering out the window. A couple of turns later she flicks the cigarette (still burning) out the window (Can you say brush fire?). Fine, I see that everyday, and it’s sad. Then, she lights up again. And still we’re driving (this is a NJ commute you know). A few minutes later she flicks that one out the window too. Something went off in me. I think I realized how many cigarettes she must throw out each day, each week, each year! Good God. I start honking. She gives me a really dirty look in the rearview mirror. I’m mouthing, “Why litter, why?” It probably looks like “You’re hot. Keep smoking!” to her. She ignores me. But then, she gets caught at the light and I switch lanes to get right beside her. Her window is still down from the last littering episode. I roll down my window and ask “why are you littering”. This unfortunate soul sneers and says, “it’s just a fucking cigarette!” I say, “it’s litter. it’s against the law.” She flips me off with one hand and rolls the window up with other, all the while talking on her cell (which is also a primary moving violation in NJ). She looks away and leaves her finger there for the length of the light. I smile for the duration.

In fact, I smiled all the way to work. I got nowhere with her. I know that. That’s fine. But, the next time she’s about to flick one of her death sticks out the window, maybe she’ll think twice or think of me or maybe just check her rearview to see whose watching… You never know whose watching. Maybe it’s me. And, next time I’ll take your picture for all to see…

Is it any wonder I can’t wait to leave this state?

Posted in Ethics
  • AAW, Wodbridge, NJ

    Sorry to hear about your experience here in NJ. I’m a born-and-raised resident of this state, and although I’m only 26, I have to say that it has done me many services. I received an excellent education (both public AND private at different points in my life). I met my wife in Elizabeth, NJ. My parents are both retired after working 30 years in NEWARK of all places (my dad is from the South and wandered up as an adult; my mom came from St. Lucia).

    We loathe all of the same things you have mentioned through your blog. Yet, when I travel, I’ve never been questioned about an accent (I STILL don’t know where that comes from, because I don’t have it), and I’m usually as polite as anyone else. People literally take 20 guesses to figure out where I’m from.

    There are nice people in New Jersey; I just wish I could say it’s a majority :-/