Thursday, 30 July 2009

Suburban midlife crisis

I was in my favourite place yesterday morning- my bed, just waking up slowly and lazily, when I heard noises outside. Bang!- went my front gate. Brrrrroom!-rolled the wheels on my bin. The bin men were here. And everything inside me jerked from relaxed and sleepy straight into stressed and annoyed.

I forgot about the ***** recycling day. Again!

Not only it is frustrating that after 4 years of living in this house, I still manage to forget about the bin Wednesdays; I am also painfully aware that allowing myself to get upset about bins is pathetic. It probably is a sign of a suburban midlife crisis for a woman.

I appreciate how this must sound. But recycling is my Enemy No 1 in this country.

We are given three little boxes. One of them is black and the other two are green. Each has a label with what has to be included in that particular box. (The label is a brief description only, please refer to the complete listing to check what is acceptable in each box.)

Box 1:- Newspapers, cards and other papers (but no envelopes or cardboard!)
Box 2- Plastic food bottles and cans only
Box 3- Glass bottles only.

In addition to the three little boxes, we have one large brown wheelie bin, which is for our food and garden waste. It took me over a year to memorize what goes where, and another year to ensure I get the right boxes ready each week. Because they take turns, of course. One week it is the large brown bin, and next week- the three little boxes.

Lying in bed, thinking about the bins, I suddenly remembered there was someone else in this house who could be blamed for missing the bin Wednesday. I turned my head to glance at my husband. His face looked peaceful. He was deeply asleep, unconcerned about the bins, probably dreaming of his marketing strategies.

And I thought:

Why can’t I think more like a man? When it comes to some other aspects of life, I actually do. But not when it comes to bin days, recycling and paperwork.

Because, paperwork in this country is my

Enemy No 2

I think it is ironic that the country so obsessed with being green produces such enormous amount of pointless paperwork. When I think of post back home, I go back to my teenage years when receiving mail was an enjoyable experience. It was all about newspapers that smelled of fresh print, glossy magazines and letters. Every morning I would rush down the stone steps to the 1st floor, where rows of old metal post boxes were lined up on the wall. My heart beating with excitement, I would peek through the little holes on the box with our flat number, hoping to see something inside. I would poke at it through the hole, trying to guess what it was, and only then take the padlock of the door to retrieve my treasure. The special days when I received a couple of letters from my pen pals, as well as one of my favourite magazines would feel like Christmas.

And now, post is my nightmare. I feel they are trying to bury us alive with bills, notices, letters from charities asking for more money or from politicians- asking for our votes, bank statements, marketing ploys and tax notices. There is no end.

Husband is coping with his lot by ignoring it as long as he can. The pile is dangerously approaching the ceiling, and I face the choice of either nagging him or ignoring it myself, only hiding it in the cupboard when visitors arrive.

But, after 9 year of marriage, I am beginning to realize nagging would not help. Husbands are funny animals. They seem to have different thresholds of tolerance when it comes to dust, recycling and paperwork. Please do not tell me yours is any different. It would be like telling me you have sex 4 times a week after 10 years of marriage. Come on, who are you kidding?

Next time, I am marrying a woman.


  1. Yep, you need a wife!

    And best of all, most of that unwanted post goes straight in the recycling bin to be recycled into more unwanted post. You couldn't make it up, could you?

  2. LOL! Please stop attacking men! In my family, I am the one who goes through the mail. I am also the one in charge of all trash cans. (Fortunately, here in California we don't have to sort the recyclables.)

  3. @Working Mum: Exactly. Crazy country, I am telling you.

    @Riyad: I say: be a man! (kishi sen??!!!) Give her a good slap, and send her off to sort the mail and rubbish out! LOL (jealous of your no need to sort the recycling out)

  4. Husbands are funny animals. LOL at that. We don't separate our garbage, the bin men do, so the only thing I need to do is bring few sacks of garbage down to the main road (we live in the country side). That's it.

    Yea, the inbox became a place for real life spammers. I hate that as well. No more magic when checking for new mail :(

    What can we do, huh?

  5. Leaving the recicling part aside, I also think that real mail, actual mail, is the best thing on earth. Or maybe I should it WAS the best thing on earth.
    Every afternoon, when I got home from school, my eyes went directly to the table where the mail awaited. I was so thrilled when I found an envelope with my name and I could tell by the handwriting which pen pal it came from. On the other hand, I was so disappointed when I realized the envelope was for my sister. :(
    I can see pen pals were a very important aspect for people of my generarion (in our 30s).

  6. I have a super-responsible husband, he does all those things... he says Azeri princesses need not concern themselves with such earthly matters. It's bad enough that I work as much as I do, but it's my fault, I’d be bored at any lesser job. Tough break, huh? :):)
    Think positive. The alternative is… much worse, you know it.

  7. Thank god my husband knows nothing of your blog:) My Azeri husband deals with the mail, bills and bins (we don't have your assortment, though). It is the good side of the Azerimen's obsession with control over their family. You can't have everything, ScaryAzeri:)Your situation is a "side-effect" of a nice, non-protective, non-possessive husband who thinks of you as an able woman and trusts you. Mine (thank god)doesn't:)

  8. Funny post :-) I can imagine how annoying it should be to wake up to the bin guys rumble. But seriously, I wish they were that good with recycling here in the US. In big cities which are full of immigrants of course, it's terrible, people throw chicken and filthy trash into the recycling bins. And the streets are dirty cause many people are too lazy or don't care enough to throw trash in the bins and not under their feet. I guess GB or Germany would suit me better with my concerns for the evironment. Sigh :(
    Can totally relate to the enemy #2, thank God husband is the one to get the mail, sort it out and send it back to the recycling bin.

  9. u shld think more positive. If so small things can depress u........

  10. Nata,
    I knew it! :) and he loves to live with his mother in law. where did you find him???

    Gabriela.. You know exactly what I mean then about those old days and letters. I loved those times.

  11. I know what it is to become annoyed by the little things, that make no sense whatsoever and shouldn't be a bother at all.

    For me, it's the laundry bin. When I look at it and realize it's full, I look at it as if the bin is the one at fault, for becoming full so soon, and sometimes I feel as though it does it to spite me.

    As for junk mail, I haven't had to deal with that in quite a while. I move around a lot and have managed to stay one step ahead of them.

    And, there is no recycling that I'm aware of in Singapore. We just throw everything down a garbage chute on the balcony. Maybe they sort it at the bottom when it's collected?

  12. I absolutely refuse to have anything to do with the rubbish. Of course, this means nothing gets recycled.

    B, though, refuses to have anything to do with clothes.