Tuesday, 16 January 2007

I put rubbish into the neighbour's wheelie bin, yet I am innocent!

Oh lordy lord, I hope the neighbours don't see me!
If there were CCTV cameras around here now, I'd be caught, bang to rights guv'nor.
Should anyone in the vicinity be looking, I'm lifting a bag of rubbish out of my grey bin and dumping it into one of my neighbour's bins, an activity that in the past would certainly have qualified as 'strange behaviour'.
However now, in these days of Pay-By-Weight refuse collection, what I'm doing looks downright criminal.
But I am innocent. Straight as a die, me, your Worshipfulness, cor blimey yes, and vat's va truth.
When we moved into this house back in March of last year, the estate agent who rents it asked if we wanted to switch to the City Bin Company.
My wee brainbox was dealing with the infinite and tedious logistics of moving, so I took refuge in my old pal, the Law of Inertia, which requires that if something is not moving, the probability is that it will not.
Add a dash of 'If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It', and a healthy post-Thatcherite suspicion of essential public services being loaded onto the scary ship Free Enterprise, and I decided to stick with the Council, at least until the end of the year; see if the City Bin Company was a flash in the pan, or demonstrably unethical.
Where health, housing and education are concerned, I believe that our needs will always be greater than those demanded by the prophet Profit, but equally, monopolies are free to rip us off.(vis:ESB).
So we looked to see if Galway Council had reacted to local market forces by dropping their prices.
The service they supplied was without fault. Galway City was recently given an award for becoming more litter-free, and in my heart I would rather sell them my rubbish than the Shiny Orange Lids of capitalism.
But it only took a short glance at comparative pricing for me to abandon all my grandiose notions, and kiss capitalism right on its puckered red ring.
Like, hey, look at those prices dude! Capitalism rocks! Up with the Orange Lids!
Humans make fantastically fickle customers, and I would have been willing to pay marginally more to stay with the Council, had they applied a tad more psychology to their pricing structure.
They need to raise 'X' amount from each punter, so why not do what the City Bin Company do, and apply that charge exclusively to the grey landfill bin?
By spreading their costs over the three bins, the Council are charging us for recycling, which they forced us to do in the first place.
Fine, I will wash and dry my milk containers and tins, wondering as I watch the warm water and detergent going down the sink how on earth this is saving the planet, but do not make me pay for it.
Spare me the letter from the Council reminding me that recycling is an expensive business. I know it is, but humans as punters are a weird mob at the best of times. Here I am, trying to stay with you, but your prices are higher than the City Bin Company across the board, and your charges are spread over the three bins, and I don't like that.
So nyah.
At which point I pass proceedings over to the Snapper, who calls the City Bin Company and encounters a fluffy huggy salesperson who wants to have our babies.
Three days later, three shiny bins and a Welcome Pack arrive at our house, but I am away, inebriated and unaware.
When I return home I am not in a good state at all. My Christmas was pleasantly quiet, but I made up for it in some style, and know that today there's only a couple of hours of non-sofa life left in me.
Dragging myself down the Prom I force myself to walk and breathe before the inevitably supine fireside snoring marathon starts this afternoon.
Somewhat refreshed as I walk back home, I decide to tackle the new bins. Due to a lack of information, our bins were not emptied after Christmas, so now I have to somehow transfer all the stinky detritus of the holiday season from the Council bins to the Shiny Orange bins.
My pathetic sleep-deprived hungover attempt to walk briskly has produced a sweat upon me, and my head has started to spin. My mouth is dry and dirty and every bone and muscle in my body is dreading the task ahead.
Stumbling now, I lift the lids of our old bins and - oh joy and bliss and yes baby yes rapture!
They are empty! Perchance the City Bin Company are indeed angels from heaven and they have already taken away our old trash and given us a new start.
At the bottom of the old grey bin there lies one small white plastic bag, which I retrieve and place in the new Shiny Orange Bin with the grey lid.
Then, rushing with a tsunami of delight, I swing all the old bins away from the wall to make way for the shiny new oh-so empty bins.
As I turn to face the old bins my eye catches a glaring detail that my addled brain missed before. There, in huge white paint strokes, is the number of the house next door.
Adley, ye feckin' eedjit.
Almost falling over as I spin on my heels, I realise that I am shooting loose with bins that are not my own. I have transgressed from mine own wheelies, and am clearly off my tiny head.
As my heart, spirit and balance sink to the heels of my boots, I lift the lids of the correct bins, and sure they are packed so full it will be a monster task to even fit all that crap into the Shiny Orange bins.
And what with the Pay-By-Weight, I'm damned if I'm going to pay for that white bag I lifted out of my neighbour's bin. We don't even use white bags! How could I have failed to notice that?
So I have to put it back, but that means me standing here, looking dead suspicious, moving a bag from my bin to someone else's.
But you know that I am innocent.
Lost, gone completely bingly-bongly in the head, yes.
But as honest as the day is long.

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