After so long waiting, I had finally arrived.
I had coveted the dustbin for years: stainless steel; easy-clean; antibacterial. Best of all was the footpedal which meant you would never have to touch it, except to take the bag out. This would be contained within an odour-eliminating, sleekly streamlined plastic capsule. The insanitary sanitised once and for all, at last.
I thought back with horror to the dustbins of my youth. In early childhood, it had been a pale-blue plastic swing bin with a lid that must have once been white. As I remember it, there were always bits of crusted food stuck onto it, and when you opened it flies would escape in summer. No-one ever cleaned it, so I gave it a wide berth. I left my rubbish in piles around the house, which didn’t help the situation, but I would’ve done just about anything to avoid going near that bin.
What followed in my teen years was still worse: a round yellow plastic container, moulded to look like an ash bin, whose lid had to be removed by hand. Needless to say, at this point I took to managing my own waste, keeping a small pedal bin in my room for personal use.
Ever since moving out of the family home, I’ve been fastidious. I always keep my own bin squeaky clean. But the funds to buy that sleek stainless-steel model have always eluded me. Up to now.
It’s not that I couldn’t afford it outright; I mean, it wasn’t going to break the bank. But my budget was tight, and I could never justify the unnecessary expenditure. It was an adornment, an ideal; and I could only dream.
Many a time had I eyed jealously my neighbours’ Brabantia when they’d invited me to dinner. I’ll admit that I’d been suffering ‘bin envy.’
Sadly, I would walk the aisles of the local Department Store, admiring the gleaming mirror-sheen of the immaculate pedal bins in the home section, reflecting all my hopes and aspirations.
Finally, today, my time had come. Bonus in hand, I marched into the store triumphantly and bought one for myself, as I’d so often dreamed I would, once I’d attained the required social status.
Proudly, I placed it in the boot of my car and brought it home.
Once home, I unboxed it carefully and gave it pride of place by the kitchen door, so the neighbours would see next time they came for coffee, and realise I was one of them, at last.
And now it’s standing there, empty: I can hardly bring myself to put a bag in it, let alone fill it with rubbish.
Perplexingly, unexpectedly, that’s just how I feel: empty. And somewhere from the depths of my soul comes the resounding admonition:
What a waste of life, dreaming always of better ways to manage waste:
A waste of time, which could have been spent learning to dream bigger.
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