The Backpage: I have a confession about my bin 53



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There are some confessions best made only to your dearest friends, such as being able to recall when there were usherettes in movie theatres and women weren’t allowed in pubs.

And wheelie bins. I can remember a time when there were no wheelie bins, which means I must be really old.

It’s not something you boast about but the thought occurred to me a few days ago when the council left a flyer in the letterbox urging us to get an extra bin for garden waste, a green bin to go with the general rubbish red bin and the recycling yellow bin.

To fully appreciate the allure of a green bin, you have to have lots of lawn surrounded by towering stands of bougainvillea.

We do, which has caused a constant state of war with the bin police on one side and me on the other. The problem is that the red bin fills too fast which leaves the yellow bin, the art lying in cramming as much garden waste into it as possible and hiding it under newspapers and empty wine bottles.

This is a hanging offence and when I first met my wife she would have sold her children before she would have broken the bin laws.

It took me some time to corrupt her but she has now fallen beyond redemption.

It’s the carnivorous bougainvillea that’s at fault, it being one of the few plants to my admittedly limited knowledge that actually grows while you’re watching it.

Its aim is to overrun the house and strangle us in our beds while we sleep which is why I am regularly sent into battle against it armed with little else than a pair of secaturs, gardening gloves and a long sleeved shirt.

Within minutes, strips of flesh – my flesh – are hanging off the razor-like thorns of the bougainvillea and my shirt is dripping blood.

After one particularly vicious assault that saw me screaming and running around the yard in circles clutching my groin with both hands,

I took to stuffing several pairs of socks down the front of my gardening shorts as added protection.

Nothing, I can safely say, brings tears to a man’s eyes quite like a bougainvillea thorn in the blokey bits.

The socks provide a degree of groin protection although I have to remember to remove them if I venture outside the yard.

I forgot once and mowed the footpath with them still in place causing a rumour that I had undergone what could most delicately be called “enhancement surgery” to spread the length of the street.

I am not, however, the only bin sinner in the burg for I was having a chat with a colleague recently and the conversation turned to bins.

“Don’t tell a soul,’’ he said leaning closer, “but I got busted last week”.

As images of the drug squad kicking down his door filled my mind, I whispered: “What did they get you for?”

“The bin,” he said. “They left my recycling bin behind so I chased the truck down the street and when I caught it, the driver said I’d put green waste in it.”

“Had you?’’ I asked. “Of course I had. I thought everyone did,” he replied.

“But how did he know? They don’t have time to look in every bin in the street,” I said.

“Exactly!’’ said my mate. “I asked him that very question and he said they’ve got a camera and closed circuit TV screen. If green waste starts falling out of the bin they put it back on the footpath.”

“How devious of them” I said, thinking how fortunate I had been to so far escape detection.

Perhaps the green bin is my saviour. It will. At least, mean the end of bin dancing, that cultural event which occurs when I jump up and down in the bin in an attempt to compress its contents to make room for more bougainvillea.

Please don’t try this. The last time I did it I fell out of the bin and grabbed the clothesline to break my fall. This now tilts towards the sky like a satellite dish, but then I’ve never claimed to be much of a dancer.


Do you secretly use the wrong bin from time to time?


Mike O'Connor

Mike O’Connor is a Brisbane-based motoring writer, travel writer and columnist. He’s driven hundreds of different cars, travelled widely and mingled with famous people, none of whom, he confesses, can remember meeting him.

  1. Oh, this just gets better & better reading all this stuff!!who needs books & magazines when you get it all here. In this 60s. Wish I could write such funny stuff! And yes I ( we) used to be abitvcheeky about what we put in the bins but now! look out! I pull out what what shoulnt be in , or I pull out stuff that hasnt been ‘ flattened’ especially after husband just dumps any old things in plastic bags a no no ! I tell him.

  2. We all remember carrying those old tin cans out to sidewalk, thank heavens we were all young, I could not do it now. Might help explain some of the reasons why older people now have bad backs

  3. Green bin is a great addition, my council also supplies little compostible bags and under sink bin so that food scraps can go in green bin. Love it as I am in a unit, no room for compost bin.

    2 REPLY
    • I think they are available in hardware shops like Bunnings. We get 150 a year so have never tried to buy them.

  4. Shame on you Mike O’Connor – non recyclables in the yellow bin contaminate the entire load. Get a green bin!

  5. Hehe we have three bins and it is good one just for garden waste and we always fill it !

  6. That’s hilarious, I think he needs to get himself a cricket box for better protection though.

  7. If only! Our council Golden Plains in Victoria have signed a 5 year contract household rubbish pick up once aFORTNIGHT and recycle once a WEEK. No green waste no room for compost.

  8. More Mike O’Connor please! Always turn first to the back page of QWeekend to read his hilarious column

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