There is something disproportionately irritating about the recycling bins here. It is as if the leaders of the council, while trying to consider the environment and of course, the funds, decided that the citizens of our town love last week’s cereal box being nestled in the bush at the end of our small, unsatisfying gardens. In fact, yes. There’s nothing I long for more than waking up, sipping my cheap instant coffee, and finding that storm Glenda or Boris or whoever has decided to deliver the milk cartons, fruit containers, beer bottles and empty Tampax boxes across the entire neighbourhood. The most fun is on recycling day when the carnage moves to the main road. In the country, drivers avoid pheasants. Here, they are on red alert for soggy Amazon packages.
It would be so much simpler if things were like they were at Mum and Dad’s. They have a sensible solution to recycling. A bin, with a lid. It’s a modern day miracle! Almost exactly the same as the general waste one we have here. But it’s green. And the garden one is brown. More straightforward, the work done for you, nothing to soak your time or energy.
I’ll be fair. There does seem to be some thought behind the madness. I suppose separating your recycling might have some solid reasoning. I have also noticed on my mindless bumbles around town that some people have these ingenious nets. Laid strategically over their waste to keep the formidable power of the wind at bay. I can see they would be more useful than the light, pathetic lids that are whisked off the box quicker than a clueless girl with a high school crush. These nets have been something of an intrigue. On a quick Google, I’ve discovered to my delight, they are free. In theory, that’s wonderful. In reality, I consider, not as exciting as one may first perceive.
If I was to order one of these nets, losing nothing from my nearly empty purse, I’d need to ensure the net was laid over, probably secured and fastened on the box, every time I gave it an item. Every time. Now then, how much time would be wasted having to complete that mundane and tedious task compared to just lobbing it in there. Then, I consider, probably less time than the tiny voyage across the garden, in my see-through pyjamas, to order the waste back inside from its chill-laxing on the branches of a tree. Then on the way back, I moan at the sight of yet another dead plant I have forgotten to water. Yet again, I come full circle. If it were a bin, with a lid, and not a box, we would not have this problem. Oh, to be a kid again.
Back at home, it was as simple as: a bin, with a lid for waste, a bin with a lid for recycling, and a small, perfectly sized yellow glass bag. There was a place around the back of the detached house for the bins to nestle in and the glass bag fit nicely in the corner of the large garage. Now, the bins stand proudly in the centre of my potentially nice, weed invested patio. What’s not to love? There’s nothing better than a BBQ in the summer surrounded by stench and washed-out tins of chopped tomatoes. I realise I could invest in one of those rather nice-looking ‘bin sheds’ so I could tuck them away at night, but my time in researching, buying them and then having it assembled always seems better spent elsewhere. I wouldn’t have that problem at home. The new projects would appear, as if overnight, much like a newly plump tube of toothpaste.
This is one of the many things I would have liked to be told at school. Much like what a mortgage is, what it means when your tax code changes, and how to pay a utility bill. I would have been grateful to know that recycling bins are not always the same and it should be an important consideration when deciding where to live. Yet nobody tells you these things.
It’s usually on the bus when life’s trivialities pass me by. Thoughts of recycling bins, dusty skirting boards, mortgages, job stuff and possibilities mingled with the view of early-morning joggers and dog-walkers, convenience stores dropping their swinging boards outside and car after car emerging from suburban junctions. It’s a pity that life can feel dull sometimes.
Yet there’s always that higher hope, of something greater than us. God is bigger.
I know that, I believe that and yet my rebellious heart still aches over the recycling bins. The things that never bothered me as a kid. The things that were taken care of. I suppose this gives me a new appreciation for my parents, I thought, as an older lady nestled next to me, covering the ripped, dated fabric of the bus seat.
Going into work feels like a chore. It would be great if success just happened. Just materialised for me. That’s lazy, I know. Then again, success isn’t what makes me worth anything. Not really. Having money, status and a fancy title might make me that in the world’s eyes, but does it really define me? No. My identity is in my faith and in Christ alone. After all, He is the Lord of history. What makes me think I can run my life better than He can? So, maybe, I sigh flicking out my headphones from my ears, the worship song fading away, I shouldn’t let myself focus on unimportant things and focus on Him.
What’s that verse again? Be salt and light? I want to let my light shine, but I have to let Him strip away the curtains that cover it, including my irritation with the recycling bins. I should receive them with joy.
“Would you like a humbug, love?” The old woman beside me asked, her eyes bright and welcoming.
“Yes, I would, thank you.” I speak joyfully, a smile beaming across my face.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be annoyed about the recycling bins again, but as all things are being made new, one day I won’t be.