A true story. This happened last Saturday. I’d just got back from a shopping expedition, and was getting out of my car when my neighbour from across the road – whom I don’t know – came across to me. She started the conversation with “Did you put your rubbish in my wheelie-bin on Thursday?” To which I could only reply, “Yes, I did.”
Each household in Worcester is allocated two wheelie-bins – one green one for recyclable materials, and a black one for anything not recyclable. It takes me a while to fill the green bin, and far, far longer to collect enough non-recyclable stuff – most of which is vacuum cleaner fluff and pistachio shells which won’t compost down. So every couple of months or so, I have accumulated a small plastic bag of rubbish. Instead of putting this in my black wheelie-bin (which has, in any case, a broken handle and serves as a ‘garden store’ in the back garden) and not wishing to leave the bag lying on the pavement, I search out the nearest black wheelie-bin put out by a neighbour. It seems neater that way, and it saves the bin man from having to bend down. Last Thursday the nearest bin was across the road.
“I don’t want you putting your rubbish in my black wheelie-bin.”
“It’s my wheelie-bin. I pay my council tax and I have my own black wheelie-bin. I’m very careful what I put in it. I put my rubbish in my wheelie-bin, and I don’t want your rubbish in with my rubbish. So don’t put any more of your rubbish in my wheelie-bin!”
“I certainly won’t.”
Conversation ends. Injured party returns to house.
Now even though I’ve lived here for nearly 3½ years, I have never got to know the people opposite. Hardly ever see them, wouldn’t recognise them in the street. And I don’t think I’ll make the effort to change this relationship …
© 2017 Peter Young