Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Not Needed On Journey - Holiday Monday
The car is groaning on the springs again. I keep asking for the company to change it but it seems to have developed a mechanical empathy with me – I haven’t given it a pet name or anything, I’m not that weird, but I might miss its quirky character when they finally chop it in for something smaller, cheaper and sign-written with a company logo.
‘Don’t pick an argument with anybody will you.’ States my wife as the turning for the municipal dump approaches. I know the public opinion of estate agents isn’t stratospheric, but you’d like to think your missus would value you a little higher. After all we spend our lives listening to people wanting more than they’re worth…
‘They are just so aggressive and dictatorial.’ I tell her grumpily. ‘I mean where’s the customer service?’
‘They work for the council.’ She tells me. Fair point. No competition, heavily unionised and don’t need to make a profit was never the best motivator for a financially lean, successful operation.
‘Here we go.’ I announce as I turn into the depot and see they’ve added a further four or five skips since my last rubbish ordeal here. The boundaries have high, razor wire- topped fences and stark warning notices, referencing health and safety rules, items unsuitable for disposal and charges that will be levied for anyone trying to dispose of commercial waste, are everywhere. No wonder every country lane I go down is littered with fly-tipped tyres, washing machines and fridge-freezers.
‘How many public servants does it take to watch you struggle with heavy items?’ I ask facetiously, as I spot at least a dozen surly attendants in hi-visibility jackets following our approach with what can only be described as suspicion.
‘The trash Taliban have us in their sights.’ I tell my wife as I walk to the rear of the car and wonder what to dump first? It’s a wonder the dour-faced garbage guardians aren’t issued with Kalashnikov rifles.
‘Let’s hope they don’t realise you’re an estate agent.’ Says my wife as we both look at the opposition for sale boards I have in the car.
‘Do I look like one?’ I ask, gesturing towards my grubby gardening clothes.
‘Maybe an on-line only operation.’ She says chuckling.
Not funny. Plus they’re a false economy.
‘What you got there squire?’ Demands one of the two wardens standing by the steps of the general waste container. None of his colleagues have made any attempt to assist the people warily unloading their cars, despite me spotting at least two unaccompanied females and one old boy of pension able age struggling with an ancient typewriter.
We wait at the top of the steps like errant schoolchildren as our waste is picked over discourteously.
‘That’s for the wooden recycling bin.’ Instructs the more senior of the fascists, pulling out a worthless, pine compact disc rack. ‘And that’s for metals and that’s garden waste.’ He instructs, leaving my wife holding a sagging bin liner that she is told she must keep back, as she struggles to empty the remaining contents into the skip below.
‘Pompous pillocks.’ Says my wife angrily as we return to the car and I spot the polypropylene for sale boards of my rivals.
‘Welcome to my world, finally.’ I tell her with a wry laugh, as I wonder if there’s a deep hedgerow on the way home with a convenient lay-by alongside.
‘Old cathode ray televisions?’ I ask wearily, as my wife dumps the timber element of the for sale boards in the appropriate skip. I’m clutching my eldest son’s VHS/Television combi that a, no longer with us, relative bought him seemingly only yesterday. Everything goes back to the ground eventually - it’s just some items take longer to rot down.
‘You okay?’ Asks my wife as we drive away, the polypropylene advertising boards still in the back of the car. It’s no wonder women make such good estate agents. She knows.
‘It’s a bit sad round the back there.’ I tell her referring to the technological graveyard where, with a lump in my throat, I left my boy’s faded-blue 14-inch television set, along with my once prized Sony stereo VHS player.
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