Turning into my driveway last night, something caught my eye on the edge of the road. We regularly find trash there, hurled from passing cars. Apparently we're exactly one large Coke and a Big Mac away from the Excelsior McDonald's, and rather than endure the detritus in their pristine automobiles, certain MacDonald's customers prefer to eject it into the environment, which is often the upper edge of our wooded front yard.

I've long pondered those fellow-citizens who are capable of tossing their trash into the world. There are smokers who, free of any guilt about their un-decomposable filters, empty their ashtrays at stoplights or in parking lots, or just hurl them one at a time out the window as they drive along (often with those "habitat" license plates-- that's the real mystery). There are well-educated captains of industry who blithely direct their poisonous by-products to be dumped into rivers or released into the air, at least until forced to stop it (or hide it) by government regulation.

Then there are the tidy yet carefree folks who think nothing of tossing recyclable water bottles, glass and aluminum cans into the regular trash, while recycling bins are clearly visible nearby... even without recycling bins, most of members at my fancy Minnetonka gym live near enough that they could hang onto that can for the ten minutes it takes to get home, and toss it into their own recycling bin, couldn't they? COULDN'T THEY?!?!?

About once a year, I find some forgotten plastic container at the back of the refrigerator, containing something so frightening when seen through translucent plastic that I can't bear to open it and clean it out... and I throw it into the trash. As I do, I keep repeating to myself, "People do this every day! People throw recyclable containers away! They don't give it a thought! This is but one tiny item in a mountain of needless trash generated in the Twin Cities metro! Why shouldn't I add my mite?" Words of comfort to some, perhaps... but not for guilty, guilty me, who quickly returns to soaking the horrors off the neck of that ancient ketchup bottle before placing it in the recycling bin.

Back to that item at the top of our driveway... it was light-colored, and clearly artificial. It didn't look like it had come from McDonald's. I stopped the car, and opened the door to get a better look.

It was a sex toy, and not a dainty one, but a substantial specimen. It was a sex toy with a two word name, the first of which has four letters, begins with B and ends with T, and it's not "boat."

I can see it out there this morning, as I look out the window. No raccoon or neighbor has claimed it so far, but Valentine's Day is imminent, so I'm keeping my eye on it. Meanwhile, the question is this: who throws a sex toy out the window of their car, and under what mysterious circumstances? Have they been using it while driving, perhaps alternating that activity with refreshing draughts of Coke from McDonald's? If it was used, and tossed, by a driver, I think they must have been heading west, but perhaps it was an eastbound passenger who said, "I'm sick of this old thing! Let's get a new one-- we're heading towards Minneapolis anyway," and sent it sailing over to our driveway.

I think I'd prefer to think it was a passenger, for safety's sake. This was a pretty low-tech, i.e. not "hands-free" toy, or at any rate it had a handle. I'd never thought about other drivers using sex toys as they drive, but now I will, of course. I just heard a report that said that the danger of drivers' cell phone use isn't from having the phone in hand, but the mental distraction of the conversation. I would think sex toy use, especially really effective sex toy use, would be even more distracting than conversation about work, or what to pick up at Costco.

As I noted earlier, Valentine's Day is imminent. Frugality is back in style-- thrift shops are booming. I haven't heard tell of consignment shops which sell EUC ("excellent used condition") sex toys, but I may have missed a report in the Strib while out of town. Meanwhile, if you're looking for an impressive Valentine gift, and are low on cash, I'm sure a trip through the dishwasher would adequately sterilize the item in our driveway, glowing pinkly in today's glorious sunlight.

p.s. If you'd prefer a more public Valentine's Day experience, my own Valentine and I will be interspersing a wild variety of love songs with poetry and dramatic readings-- ranging from elegant to naughty-- at Squire House Gardens in Afton, at 7&9 p.m. We'll keep our hands in plain sight.