Sunday, 13 January 2019


Come on. No good sitting here.

Time to get cracking.

If only I didn’t feel so lethargic.

My body is telling me to rest and my mind isn’t exactly fighting the idea either, but rest is not on my menu today.

I’m truly tempted to stay here, sitting by the fire with my mate, who’s working his way through a backlog of Match Of The Days, but no.

I’m moving house in a couple of weeks so my mood is neither here nor there. Ideally I’d be leaping enthusiastically into this process, but after months of painful chaos I’m exhausted.

Challenges always feel less daunting when I’ve made a plan, which this time is mind-numbingly simple: do it room by room, carload by carload, until there’s only furniture left for the van.

Nobody’s going to do this for me, but how hard can it be? Muttering mantras about longest journeys and first steps, I head off to my bedroom to find and pack up the nooks and crannies of my life.

In a plainly pathetic effort to make it more fun for myself, I decide to turn this sorting of worldly possessions into a TV show called Keepers or Crappers!

Do you love it or need it?
If not, bin it.

Off we go with round one, which entails sitting on the floor and opening the door of my little bedside table.

What might be in here?
Not a clue.

Ah, my playing cards and bag of poker chips.


I’ll be a complete stranger in the place I’m moving to, and in the past I have found poker a way to make friends, especially as I tend to lose.

Reaching for the carrier bag I lift it out of the tiny cupboard to watch, as if in slow motion, the bag disintegrate in front of my eyes, allowing light plastic poker chips to explode to the floor and rebound energetically -

 - running under the bed -
 - rolling under the bedside table -
 - rolling further, under both chests of drawers -

… and what
… and how
… and please no!

No no no!

In my hands I’m holding the raggedy handles of what merely seconds ago appeared to be a bag, but the plastic in my hands is all that remains of it.

Beneath me, a pile of recently liberated poker chips lies completely enveloped in a dry soup of beige dust.

I know plastic eventually degrades, but there’s no way this bag has been in that cupboard long enough to disintegrate like that.

Now, instead of heroically plunging into my packing, I have to get the hoover out, move all the cupboards in my bedroom, find and fish out the errant plastic discs and somehow wash off the powdery remains of what the bag has become from all the chips, the floor and oh, I want to lie on my back, kick my feet in the air and wail like a baby:

“Which part of this is making progress towards a carload of boxes?”

but I don’t, because I’m a grown-up and that’s not deemed acceptable behaviour, unless
you want the funny farm on your family crest.

Could the packing of my stuff have started in a more trying way? Well, I suppose I could’ve accidentally cut my arm off. That would’ve been much worse, and no less likely than a disappearing bag.

Making appropriate grunting noises as I struggle to my feet, I look at the tatty remains in my hands, and see that behind the beige background there are hundreds of tiny lines of green printed words running all over it

Sitting on the side of the bed, I unfurl the last inches of complete bag that are stuck between my fingers, and peering closely discover that those lines of words all say the same thing: ‘biodegradable plastic bag’.

Oh that’s bloody great.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for biodegradable plastic bags. Don’t tell the others, but I’m a big fan of all those survival shows on TV, when a bunch of obnoxious humans get dumped on a island in the middle of nowhere.

The level of human obnoxiousness might rise and fall, but the one constant factor, wherever they are in the world, is that the beaches will be strewn with plastic bottles and waste.

It’s deeply sad and maddening so yay, absolutely triff, let’s find a way of making plastic disappear, but - and right now this is a bit of a deal breaker for me - please let us know clearly, in no uncertain terms, when the bag you’ve given me is going to crumble into dust in a few years.

What’s that?

Why don’t I use the eyes in my head to read what’s printed all over the bag?

Yeh well, you would say that, wouldn’t you, and go away and I never liked you anyway.

As I sit here and write this I know that there are still poker chips hiding under wardrobes in the bedroom. I hoovered up all the skunky gunk and dusted off all the chips, only to find they were still covered in manky grey goo.

Can’t give guests I haven’t even met yet poker chips covered in manky grey goo, so I washed them off in the sink, and then spent ages trying to find a way of laying them on tea towels and draining boards, so that they could all dry, because I needed to get on with packing my stuff.

Didn’t work, so I gave up and dried each one individually, by which time it was dark, and I had to cook dinner.

Not a single box packed. Guess today wasn’t the day I was meant to start packing.

Should’ve just chilled and watched footie with my friend.

Ah well, next time I move, I’ll listen to my body.

Mind you, I hope by then I’ve long forgotten all about this curious cocktail of degradable plastic and poker chips.

©Charlie Adley

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