Smokers tend to aggravate me. Most of them (but not all) just throw their cigarette butts down wherever they find themselves. When smoking was legal in stores and restaurants, you’d see the butts all over the floor, even if ashtrays were provided. I’ve worked places where washtubs with sand in the bottom were used for outside smokers, just so they couldn’t say the containers were too small to use easily. Still, most didn’t even bother to throw them in the general direction of the huge ashtrays, but just tossed them down in whatever direction they were facing. I suppose they had the typical modern American attitude that someone else would clean up after them. Still, I’ve never seen anyone act that way in their own home, so there has to be a deliberately anti-social, belligerent twist to their personalities. Some will say that the habit is so ingrained that they don’t even think. I don’t buy that for most, but with a few, I do.
One case in point is the woman who, with her husband, bought my old homeplace. You may have met people who so severely lacked intelligence that you pitied them. This poor woman is one of those people. I could give you examples of why I say that, but simply telling such true tales would make me sound cruel. Sadly, on top of her severe lack of intelligence (and any common sense what-so-ever), her husband is now bedfast, her grown children take advantage of her generosity, both monetarily and with her time, plus, she has decided that she doesn’t want to spend her old age alone, on a hilltop in the country, taking care of her husband. She wants to move to town (and I can’t blame her), but he doesn’t, so she lives a frustrating life. With all this going on, it’s rare that I get a payment on time anymore, which causes US problems with paying our own bills.
Unfortunately, she also smokes. Besides the negative effects on her health, it obviously stretches her funds even further to pay for her habit. Still, none of that is technically my business. What IS my business, is that the morning after the night that she brought the payment, I found her cigarette butt lying on the leaves that had blown around our front porch since the last raking. (With thousands of acres of forest on the windward side of the house, there’s no way to keep the area leaf free.) Luckily, this was after a few days of rain. The problem is, she would have probably thrown the butt the same place if we’d been in the middle of an autumn drought (and we’ve had them).
Cigarette butts won’t ALWAYS set leaves afire, but they do so often enough to be dangerous, and all it takes is a sunny day or two to dry out the leaves. Considering that she came after dark, if the butt had started a fire later, the porch may well have been engulfed before we ever knew it, and we have no insurance. Had some leaves smoldered until after we went to bed and THEN burst into flames, we might never have seen the morning. The problem is, there’s no need to say anything to her, as I’d be wasting my breath.
So, now I’VE got a new concern, if only once a month. (The evidence is in the lower left of the photo below.) © 2014