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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Your recent column on litterbugs brought back a vivid memory that illustrates how expensive being a litterbug can be.

We live in a very nice neighborhood in Portland, Ore. We have a beautiful yard with many hedges and bushes. One day, a passing motorist tossed a disposable diaper from his car. As he flung it out the window, it caught on his gold watchband, sending the watch flying along with the diaper!

Of course, we picked up both pieces of litter, disposed of one, repaired the other, and my husband wore that beautiful gold watch for 12 years before he replaced it. That happened 20 years ago, and to this day I still don't mind picking up litter. You never know what you'll find! -- MARION IN OREGON

DEAR MARION: My, how time flies! (Sorry, I couldn't resist it.) And speaking of disposing of litter by tossing it out the car window, read on:

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were driving down a country road when a car passed us and a person on the passenger side tossed a lighted cigarette out the window. The cigarette landed on the back of a pickup truck carrying a load of hay! A small fire started. The driver, who was directly in front of us, was unaware of the fire, so we sounded our horn and kept at it until we caught up with him and motioned for him to stop, which fortunately he was able to do.

I shudder to think what could have happened had his gas tank exploded. -- CLOSE CALL IN WISCONSIN

DEAR ABBY: A very dear friend from Los Angeles came to visit me in San Diego over her spring break. (She lives in L.A. with her parents.) Both of us are relatively young (22) and struggling for our financial independence. We had a great time during her stay here.

However, she did something that really bothered me, and I don't know how to handle it. She kept calling her boyfriend in Los Angeles -- at least twice a day -- and she also accepted collect calls from him without my knowledge or consent.

After one of his "collect" calls, I told her I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford a large phone bill, but she made another call as if I had said nothing to her.

Now I am reluctant to have her over any more due to the fact that she has no consideration for my feelings or my pocketbook.

When and how should I let her know how I feel about this? -- UNCERTAIN

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Send your "very dear friend" a copy of your telephone bill with her calls plainly encircled with a note: "I know you would want to pay for your calls."

And in the future, do not welcome anyone into your home who has no consideration for your feelings or your pocketbook.

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