The Backpage: What bin day is it?! 39



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A small voice kept whispering “one bin” but we’d been up the coast for a week and missed a garbage collection.

Had the one we missed been a two binner meaning this week would be a one binner, or had we missed a one binner and were therefore looking at a two binner?

My wife, who has the good fortune of never being wrong, went for two bins.

“I’m not so sure,” I said as I flopped into the chair beside her home office desk.

It was smothered in cushions and as my rear end connected with them they slid forward and I landed hard on the wooden floor, my tailbone bouncing off the timber.

At the very moment of impact, my right leg was stricken with an agonising cramp which competed with the pain from what felt like a fractured bum.

My shrieks alerted the dog which is presently staying with us and which sensing play time, leapt on me and began licking my face. I was stricken, unable to move, the lower half of my body paralysed with pain.

“Get the dog” I howled which now had its tongue inserted in my ear and appeared to be getting quite amorous.

“Help me up” I roared to my wife who had collapsed in the corner of the room and appeared to be suffering some form of seizure.

“I can’t” she gasped. “I’m laughing too much”.

I eventually crawled to the desk and hauled myself upright and with my rear end throbbing, hobbled down to the footpath hauling one bin and then the other.

Come the morning and the bang-thump-crash of the garbage truck shattered the peace.

One down, one to go but no! I had committed one of the classic urban sins. I had misled the entire street into wheeling out two bins, my misjudgment causing a ripple effect which ran from house to house.

I imagined the conversations which must have taken place behind the heavily curtained windows.

“I’m sure it’s a one binner but O’Connor’s put out two,” says one.

“Isn’t he the man who collects the newspaper from the lawn in his underwear and told the man in Number 6 to get effed at the street Christmas drinks?”

“That’s him, but just because he’s disgusting doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his bins.”

The morning ticked by and one by one, the still-full recycle bins were wheeled back behind their fences, their owners casting dark glances towards our house.

I waited until late afternoon to retrieve ours, limping down the driveway, what little that had remained of my street credibility shredded.

The dog followed, wagging its tail in sympathy.

“You were wrong” I said to my wife. “The bins are a man-thing. I merely offered an opinion,” she replied airily.

“What will happen when we downsize and move into our apartment? Everyone can’t have bins. Do you just toss your garbage over the balcony and down into the back of a waiting truck on bin day?” I wondered.

“They have chutes,” she said. “You just tip it down a chute.”

“And the newspaper?” I asked. “You’ll have to walk to the newsagent. You might like to try wearing pants,” she replied.

Share your thoughts below.


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This article was written by renowned journalist and author, Mike O’Connor. His most recent book Life on a Column is a wry, amusing and sometimes poignant look at life as seen through the eyes of a newspaper columnist and according to Mike, would make an excellent Christmas gift. Click here to purchase.

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. Great read. I must admit I look down the road to see what my neighbours have put out. They are never wrong

    1 REPLY
    • Ours were wrong once – we were the only ones with recycle out and the rest had green waste out. We’d put ours out late and knew we were right.

  2. We had a change in bins recently, we had to put them all out 1 week and then the next week the red lid and the yellow lid, guess what the note said yellow lid, but a few put the green lid out, they got emptied and all the yellow bins were left full. Loved the story and had a good laugh.

  3. I never know what day it is, literally. I often have to check to see if there are bins out, just so I’ll know if it’s Friday or not. The joys of growing old.

    1 REPLY
  4. Hahaha! This happened to me this week! Bins go out Wednesday to be collected Thursday.
    I leave mine in a yard at the entrance to the complex.
    Wednesday, one of my neighbours(I have no idea why,) brought my bin up and left it out front.
    So, just a tad irked, I went out to take it back, opened it, it was empty! I had put rubbish in it….
    So I thought,’Oh dear! It must be Thursday!’
    Then the other neighbours said, they saw and became confused, everyone was out asking what day it was!
    Yes. We are all over 60.

    1 REPLY
  5. Ah, Mike, the complexities of modern suburban living. We have three bins – yellow for recycling, green for food scraps and garden waste, red for everything else. Red only gets collected every fortnight. The others, weekly.

    1 REPLY
    • I dread this complication,which is about to be inflicted on us. At the moment we only have 2 bins which both go out every week! It’s hard enough remembering bin night let alone these further complications!

  6. We are lucky with our council, all 3 bins go out every week 🙂 just have to remember to put the bins out Wednesday night.

  7. My neighbour over the road is always first to put her bins out. I copy her! Funny how we all laugh at the poor guy who puts out the wrong bin though! Now even more interesting with the three bin hokey pokey!!

  8. Most Councils (Ipswich does), have a free app to download to your phone which sends you a notice the day before, telling you which bins need to go out. Problem solved!

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