Assault in a nutshell

Sadly, I have seen a lot things thrown out of car windows over the years, and I can shamefully admit to contributing to roadside litter in my less-enlightened youth. Tonight, however, I saw something repeatedly tossed out of a car window that really struck me as funny.

I was driving on surface roads through Milton on my way to an appointment, and this route takes me past Fontbonne Academy and Milton Academy, which I mention as a geographical reference for people who know this well-traveled route. Ahead of me was a nondescript black Mercury Sable (in fact, I had to make special notice of the vehicle's maker because it was the same as a Ford Taurus). Every so often along about a mile-long route these little brown things would bounce in front of my car. It being dark, I didn't notice they were coming from the driver's side window until we were stopped at a light at Reedsdale Street. The red is particularly long there because it has to cycle through five corners of traffic, and as I was sitting there I noticed a pile of peanut shells piling up on the ground next to the Sable. Just as I realized what they were, another crop came flying out the window. I can't ever remember a time that I shelled and ate peanuts while I was driving, but perhaps for this person it was a guilty pleasure.

Anyway, I was still behind the car as we continued on the journey and two or three of these hulls were light enough to catch the Sable's slip stream and land on the hood or other front parts of my car! I was clearly under attack. Well, OK, not really, but I watched the way the hulls fell with an interest usually limited to physicists who believe there is some mathematical algorithm that explains the path of something seemingly random like cigarette smoke.

Some of the hulls hit the ground right away. Some landed behind the car. And, yes, some landed on my car. I didn't care about that, my paint isn't that precious and a peanut hull can't do that much damage even at 30 mph. It intrigued me for its seemingly random pattern, but also because most of the time, I see little bits of unwanted paper, cigarette butts and even Dunkin' Donuts or McDonald's cups being launched from the windows of Boston's Crazy Drivers.


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