Another cardboard box

On the eighth day of Christmas a delivery driver left with me, yet another cardboard box.

Brexit trade deal passed: fine, whatever. Juggling homeschooling and work for most of January: an inevitable disaster but we’ll manage. Right now my most pressing concern is what in God’s name to do with the sea of empty cardboard boxes we’re accumulating. Concerns about freedom of movement are currently focussed on getting from the kitchen to the living room without tripping up.

It might be eight days since Christmas Day, but we’re still three days away from our first post-Christmas rubbish collection; that’s what happens when your normal rubbish collection day coincides with festive bank holidays.

Yesterday evening, the sight of our neighbour’s recycling and rubbish bins put out on the drive prompted a moment of self-doubt as to whether I’d read the council’s festive rubbish collection date changes properly. There’s probably a German word for this feeling, Müllabfuhrdatumselbstzweifel perhaps? What should I do? Be strong in my resolve and not put the rubbish out, trusting in my initial reading of the festival collection calendar, or look weak and play safe by following my neighbour’s suit? In the end, I decided to trust those initial instincts, letting my Müllabfuhrdatumselbstzweifel give way to a certain smugness at our neighbours’ schoolboy error.

That Christmas Day yielded numerous cardboard boxes wasn’t a great surprise. Our weekly veg box delivery is hardly a surprise either, though current lockdown restrictions mean they’re not taking old boxes away. It’s the unexpected deliveries and purchases that cause problems. Last night, another late-arriving Christmas present, another box. 

“What’s this?” I asked my wife.

“You remember” she sighed.

We opened the box. Ah yes, another toy, purchased with a £10 note that had slipped out of a card from generous family friends. I sighed. We both sighed. 

You know that your cardboard box problem has got out of hand when the expectation and anticipation of what’s inside the box is outweighed by the dread of having to find a way of disposing of yet more packaging, and, moreover, you find yourself beginning to care what the refuse collectors will think of you.

Published by mark

Researcher, historian, writer

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