Friday, 21 August 2009

THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK


It was bin day today and an unbelievable amount of regulations and restrictions surround the simple task of collecting household waste. I find it infuriating that I am expected to wheel my bin out onto the pavement in order for it to be collected and that’s only the beginning. It must not block the pavement. It must be removed from the pavement within a few hours of being emptied. It must not contain anything other than designated waste. There are even regulations regarding the lid, which must not be open more than 5mm or the bin men won’t touch it.

Why is it that something so simple and straightforward must be over-complicated by officious busy-bodies from the local authority? I think the most insulting part is that it’s dressed up as legislation to protect residents! If we stick to the rules no-one is injured falling over a wheelie bin and no-one suffers from “incorrect” refuse. However, this ignores the huge rat infestation that congregates around overflowing bins that only get collected once a fortnight. These people should examine the failings in their own little empire before they start doling out fines for non-compliance! I hear they even go through the contents of bins to examine every aspect of the householders refuse policy!

Anyway, as I struggled up the path with the wheelie bin an ominous voice summoned me back to the front door. 

“Badders!” it hissed in a stage whisper. “Badders, come here!” (I do wish she wouldn’t call me ‘Badders’. 

I glanced back at the house, in no mood for trivial discussion. “Can I help you?” I asked impatiently. 

“What is this?” My wife waved an all too familiar Tupperware container at me. “Or rather, what is it doing at the back of the airing cupboard?” 

“Umm… I can’t quite see it from here, dear… is it some socks?” 

“No it is not some socks as you very well know! It is a plastic container of remains. Namely the remains of…” 

I fled back up the path, arms pinwheeling in my hurry to clamp a hand over her mouth. “Shhhhhh! For goodness sake, woman – do you want the whole avenue to hear?” 

She fended off my hand with a slap to the wrist and a loud tut. “What is it doing in the airing cupboard?” she repeated sotto voce. “I though you returned it to the Smiths!” 

“Well, I was going to, but…. I thought it would be too great a shock and then I discovered it didn’t belong to them in the first place.” 

“What? Well whose is it then?” 

I shrugged. “What would you have had me do, dear? Leave it on the Smith’s doorstep in its little plastic coffin? What on earth would they have thought, when it’s not even their guinea pig? What sort of sick individual would do that?” 

She lowered her eyelids and peered at me suspiciously. “I never suggested leaving it on their doorstep,” she said quietly. 

“Well it’s a good job I didn’t hand it to them personally, isn’t it? Excuse me, Smith, I’d just like to welcome you to the neighbourhood with the traditional Avenue dish of Guinea-Pig-in-the-Basket. It’s very popular with the professional classes. Do let me know if you’d like the recipe. My God, those loonies in the Home-Ed brigade would have a field day with that one! It would have been all over the internet within an hour. You’d be surprised at the lengths to which some of them go, trying to discredit me and make me look like an idiot!” 

My wife was still regarding me with an old-fashioned look. “Yes, well that doesn’t mean you can keep it in the airing cupboard. It has begun to smell! You’ll have to get rid of it.” 

“Fine. Yes. Good, I’m taking out the rubbish now; I’ll just empty the Tupperware box into the wheelie bin.” 

“You most certainly will not! Have you any idea of the amount of regulations regarding what you can and cannot put in the household waste? If the bin men see that I dread to think of the consequences.” 

“Well we can hardly recycle it!” I pointed out. 

“You’ll have to bury it in the garden.” 

“…..really…. I mean…. Must I?” 

“Yes! You can do it when you’ve finished with the rubbish.” 

“Do you want the Tupperware box back?” 

“No I do NOT want the Tupperware box back! I don’t want to risk you using it again. For all I know you’ve become some serial guinea pig killer.” 

I wanted to point out that it wasn’t actually me that had harmed the blasted thing, but the look in my wife’s eye suggested I should keep quiet. She turned to go back into the house, pausing on the threshold to deliver a parting shot. 

“And bury it deep. I don’t want the cat bringing it back in!” 

With a heavy heart and an even heavier sigh I carried the box over to the wheelie bin and plonked it onto the lid. I gripped the handle and resumed trundling up the driveway. When I reached the pavement, I furtively glanced back at the house, then up and down the Avenue. Re-assured that I wasn’t being observed, I hurriedly pulled the lid off the Tupperware container and tipped the contents into the wheelie bin. I caught a terrifying glimpse of a hideous mummified face staring up at me through discoloured, clouded eyes. It occurred to me that I hadn’t heard from Ed Balls for several weeks. 

“Mr Badman!” called a voice and I dropped the bin lid back in shock. I saw Smith beckoning me from his driveway. Horribly aware I was still clutching the Tupperware box and lid, I quickly hid them behind my back and strode over to him. This whole sorry affair is his fault and I wasn’t in the mood for his Home-Ed nonsense. 

“Are you all right?” he asked with a questioning look. “You seem flustered.” 

“No, no I’m fine. What do you want?” 

He smiled at a piece of paper in his hand and held it towards me. 

“Miranda wanted me to give you this,” he said. “It’s a poem and a drawing of you, to commemorate your visit the other day.” 

He held it out, but my hands were clutching the box and the lid behind me. 

“There’s really no need….” 

“No, it’s very sweet. She especially wanted you to have it.” He waved it towards me, but I couldn’t bring my hands forward and reveal what I was holding. He might have recognised them. 

“Could you just pop it in my top pocket, here?” I indicated which one with my nose. 

“Pardon?” 

“Just pop it in…. no…? Oh for goodness sake, why are people always trying to put things in my hand?... Wait a minute…” 

I wriggled about forcing both box and lid down the seat of my trousers. It was a tight fit. They were extremely uncomfortable and I didn’t like to think of the potential contamination. 

“What on earth are you doing?” Smith asked with a mixture of concern and confusion. 

“Um… just an itch…” 

“My God! What’s that smell? I should see the doctor if I were you!” 

Finally I was able to bring both hands forward in triumph. I thrust them towards him, wiggling my fingers to demonstrate the lack of incriminating containers. Smith took an alarmed step back as I took the paper from him, examining it carefully. 

“It’s not very good, is it?” 

“I beg your pardon?” 

“This poem. It’s not very good. Quite immature actually and the handwriting is considerably below standard. And what’s this drawing? Is that supposed to be me? It looks like a goat!” 

“Yes… funny that!” said Smith, dangerously. 

“Look, I haven’t got time to mark it now,” I said. “I’ll take it with me and let you have it back later.” The pressure of the Tupperware in my trousers was decidedly uncomfortable. 

“Mark it?!” 

“Yes – look, sorry to rush, but I need to… um… sorry…. must go…” I began backing away with stiff awkward movements, severely handicapped by the bulky additions to my undergarments. Suddenly I sensed a movement behind me. Closing my eyes, I gulped. I didn’t want to turn around. The last thing I needed now was to find old Mrs Mort watching me. Smith was staring at me goggle-eyed as it was. I turned my head as far as I could and discovered Autonomous Ed, practically standing on his hind legs as he sniffed excitedly at my trousers. 

“Shoo! Go away! I don’t know whose cat this is!” I said loudly. I tried to aim a kick, but Autonomous Ed chose that precise moment to throw himself into a full investigation… literally! 

Later on in the evening I lay on the sofa examining Miranda’s handiwork again. Meanwhile my wife applied Savlon to the claw marks adorning my nether regions. 

“That’s nice,” she said, indicating the drawing. “Is it a goat?”

 Apparently it’s supposed to be me.”

 She looked thoughtful for a moment, pursing her lips. “Oh yes!” she exclaimed. “It’s very good…”


6 comments:

  1. Just what I needed! A good laugh and a momentary escape from.... oh wait, this is reality, isn't it?

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  2. I'm a bit concerned about Ed, who used to be ginger, and now appears to be a brown leopard tabby. What's going on over there, Badders?

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  3. Dear Mr Badman,

    You have been very quiet of late. I wonder whether you have attended any of those rascally picnics, and what your thoughts might be...?

    Looking forward to hearing your expert opinion.

    Kind regards,

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  4. This blog is reeeaaallllllyyy funny! :D

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  5. I haven't gone away - I've just been extremely busy. It's not easy finding the time to gather the evidence to support the findings my report was based on. I hope to be back soon. In the meantime I can confirm that I may have attended one of the picnics and the Bekonscot meeting - incognito of course... my findings will be published in due course...

    Sir Graham Badman, CBE
    Expert

    ReplyDelete