Is It Illegal? Should It Be?

The car I was following on a four lane street swerved over the center line several times and, feeling certain there would be a crash soon, I slowed down and dropped back several yards. Then, just as the driver regained control and got the car back into the appropriate lane, a red light appeared ahead. Seeming to have regained control, the driver brought the car to a stop.

Now that the car was no longer moving, I put on my brave hat and, pulling into the lane beside the now under control car, I stopped. The door panel on the passenger side of the car declared in bold letters that the occupant was a realtor with a local company. Thinking the driver might be in distress, maybe even having a heart attack or stroke, I peered through the car window. There, sitting behind the steering wheel, was a middle-aged lady who was, as they say, “Dressed to the nines.” Holding a large city phone directory in the middle of the steering wheel, Realty Lady was thumbing quickly through the pages. Her head was tilted to the right, and I could see that she was squeezing a cell phone between her ear and her shoulder.

Since I was in the right lane, I decided to turn right and find another way home. I didn’t read anything in the paper that would indicate otherwise, so there was probably not a mishap.

Should driving while looking up numbers in a phone book and talking on a cell phone be illegal? Maybe not! Maybe society should find some way to connect the issuing of a driver’s license to the level of common sense possessed by individual applicants.

While some laws we have in Colorado would be unnecessary if people just used good old fashioned common sense (e.g. the law against texting while driving and the law that does not allow smoking in spaces shared by others), some of the laws in our fair state cover actions that no one would suspect might be illegal.

When we first arrived in Colorado, I suggested to a friend that the little flower spaces in our condo commons (they aren’t big enough to refer to as gardens) might thrive better if we attached expanding downspouts that uncoil when it rains and, thus, disperse sky-water onto the little garden patches. Of course, this would assume that we get rain, which I later discovered is a celebration-causing event in our dry climate.

Can you imagine my surprise when I was told that it is illegal to collect or disperse rainwater? The only residents of Colorado who are allowed to do this are those living in areas where their main source of water comes from a well. For us city dwellers it is illegal. The reason given for this quirky law is that the water that falls from the sky belongs to down-stream water-rights owners. (FYI, it is not to be collected in barrels or buckets, either. I’ve read that the fine for barrel users is $500. So much for the idea of rinsing one’s hair with rainwater to make it soft.)

Other stuff you might need to know about in case you decide to visit Colorado:
• One may not mutilate or remove a rock from a state park (this law also applies to some city parks). I suppose this is because we have a rock shortage out here in the Rocky Mountains.
• One may not pick wild flowers located on public properties. This is because the seeds are all needed to produce more wild flower in public spaces. This one makes me wonder where the garden shops get the wildflower seeds they sell.
• Cloud-seeding with the intent of making the moisture favor a particular community requires a “weather modification license.” So, my question is, “Are Native Americans fined for doing rain dances?” I can’t help wondering.
• Illegal hunting carries a mega-fine. One such hunt recently cost a Colorado outfitter and three of his clients a whopping $40,000. So, maybe everyone should just let those beautiful creatures live!

I won’t even go into the “Make My Day” law. That one might cause you to lose sleep.

Still, you need to come visit beautiful Colorado. You will love it here!


  1. The "Make My Day" law is, again, just common sense. But what do you think about the proposed "Make My Day Better" law?

    And yes, Coloradoans, and Westerners in general, are very protective of every drop of water they own.

    Oh, take away both her driver's license and her realtor's chit. She is a menace.

  2. Ignorance of the law, and by that, I mean that the law is ignorant, should be an allowable excuse for breaking the law!

  3. David, the law has already been applied to a business owner in our city without the law even being passed.

    Nan, not so sure about that one.