A favorite blogger, columnist, and community member of mine- George Smith recently wrote another column bashing road Slobs (http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2018/01/22/environmental-issues/some-legislators-want-to-help-road-slobs/). This has become a personal vendetta for a man who has dedicated his life to preserving the Maine outdoors that he has waged for years, and we should all thank him for it. However, I’m here to tell you this about road slobs, they ain’t all bad.
One thing that George mentions is that road slobs writ large drink Bud light and smoke Marlboros- then chuck the cans and bottles out of the window onto his woodlot along the highway in our town. These two things are absolutely atrocious and should not be tolerated. With the myriad of research out there, how anyone in this day and age can still smoke is a mystery to me. Particularly those of us under the age of 60 who have it drilled into our heads since day one the risks and dangers of smoking. If your still smoking, start making better choices- and if you are going to continue to pollute your bodies, please don’t pollute our roadways as well. The second thing, bud light. I mean, c’mon. There are only two types of people who drink mass produced beers those without taste buds and alcoholics. Adding in light beers, I guess there is a third category, those concerned with their dainty figures who want to taste something vaguely beer-ish. I readily admit to being a beer snob and a locavore. If a beer isn’t made in Maine, I see no real reason to drink it, unless of course I have been drugged, put in a car, and forcibly made to cross the Kittery bridge (pretty much the only times I leave the state). In situations such as these, on occasion, I will have a beer produced in another state. (Side note: Local brewers, do something other than IPA’s. Not every meal should be served with a side of hops, even if you think it should. Also, don’t add fruit, ever. Also, I am more than willing and able to be a guinea pig for any beers or ciders you may have- even IPA’s and fruity beers.)
George mentions the recent attempts to reduce the bottle deposit on liquor bottles and his opposition to it. There are people in this state who believe that a 15 cent deposit on a $15.00 bottle of liquor is too much and complicates the process too much for mom and pop stores to be able to handle the transactions. They propose dropping it to 5 cents which it is on the rest of our bottle deposits. I think they have a great point, we should have one streamlined system. Let’s raise the bottle deposit on all bottles to 15 cents and help out our grocery stores that apparently can’t figure out how to apply two different rates of bottle deposits.
Now, the original point of my column. Road slobs. There have been famous road slobs throughout history and not all of them are bad. Miss Rumphius comes to mind. She scattered lupine seeds throughout the state- casting them onto the roadways from the back of her buckboard wagon, and our roadways are prettier for them (this may or may not have actually happened, but they got there from SOME road slob). Johnny Appleseed walked across America largely using the roads and spread apples from one end of America to the other. Our roads got beautiful flowers in the spring, a food source for deer and other animals, and apples that might not be good eating apples, but make a decent cider. I stop and pick them whenever I can on desolate stretches of a road throughout our state. I am thankful for these road slobs who have come before.
Road slobbery isn’t the problem. Some things can be thrown out and improve our state (although let’s not introduce any more invasive species- we will have to stop at lupines). Other things like cans, trash, and northern pike ruin our states. If you are going to throw anything on George’s woodlot, make sure it enhances it and provides habitat and food for the creatures of Maine, both four legged and two legged. Let’s hope that in the future our drivers can figure out what to keep, and what to throw away- raising the bottle deposit might give them a little motivation to get it right.