When humankind becomes extinct in a game of nuclear chicken between Trump and Jong-un and cockroaches, as the dominant species, evolve enough to wonder at our detritis, one of their real puzzles is going to be bins: why so many colours, why so many shapes, were the wheels a status symbol, what about the concrety built-in ones, are they even the same thing? Lots of cockroach grad students will write papers giving their theories, cockroach ‘experts’ of various camps will be rude to one another in whatever media they create, and the normal cockroach in the street will commit the cockroach equivalent of rolling their eyes and form a big Blattodean W with their antennae, because really…..bins again?
But for me, off the late-night train after a large glass of wine (more cost-effective) and no dinner, it’s the practicalities of the bin situation right now that matter; the bottom of the street has out the green bin, but up nearer me, quite a few sport the blue at the end of their driveways. I could put out three; the blue, the brown and the green (because, duh, the brown goes out every week, even I know that – food waste!), but I can be sensitive in non-net life, and my neighbours may scoff.
Well. I thought wine and hard, and I’m going to go with the blue, and here’s why – because that’s what Joe’s* done. Despite his irascibility, despite the time he took curtailed his evening soap-viewing to berate my Polish plumber for not having the right tool for turning the stopcock under the street (not the best of times Joe*, my pipe, had, it turns out probably been a little bit burst when we bought the house and the water that should’ve been in it was making its way through the wall), you only have to watch him set off for the paper at the same time every day in his wrinkle-free beige slacks and his sensible, rainproof jacket, to realise that he’s the sort of man who has not only kept the twenty page booklet the council issued detailing the bin schedule (I did too, no really, I did), BUT PROBABLY STILL KNOWS WHERE HE PUT IT, and has undoubtedly read it. I’d suggest that he may have committed the pattern, along with its exceptions, to memory, but he’s old so his memory is probably full of things he’s read in The Daily Mail, and besides, unfounded allegation of that type could lose me the respect of cockroach historians.
Update – I thought it’d be fun to check whether Joe* was right or not but when I got home the next day I’d forgotten, my dad had put the bins away. And right now I’m sitting in bed doing this, but one day soon I will check whether the blue bin is empty or not………… promise. (How’s that for narritive tension?)
* not his real name…….. OK it is, my creativity failed, he could never be anything but a Joe.