If I were to stand in the street at 6.30am, screaming at the top of my voice while banging cymbals together, you could measure in seconds the time it took for the first police car to turn up. And yet, for refuse collectors, or landfill supply engineers, or whatever euphemism is en vogue so they don’t get called bin men, this is perfectly acceptable behaviour. Most birds are still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes at that time of the morning, and you could hear a pin drop, providing it didn’t land in a gift left by last night’s dog walkers. Yet they still feel the need shout as if they were at opposite ends of an Iron Maiden concert. Wearing earplugs. And deaf.
It’s not just the noise though. They leave a trail of food scraps, crisp packets and Maccy D boxes in their wake (imagine Vanessa Feltz waterskiing), making the street resemble Manchester city centre on a Sunday morning. Imitating Brian Blessed talking to an elderly relative also uses up precious mental reserves, leaving them unable to perform essential job-related tasks. Remembering to put the wheelie bins back where they came from, for example, or actually emptying the things in the first place. Of course, there is always enough processing power to spot a bin left an inch away from the kerbside and so leave it festering for the next two weeks. At least the bastards no longer walk up your drive, put a sticker on the bin saying it was inaccessible, then walk away again. That was just taking the piss.
There’s no help to be found from the council, either. A phone call to the Rubbish Czar is futile because these people are recruited specifically for their lack of mercy. Apparently, the interview involves the applicant forcing a small child to choose which of their cute, fluffy pets must die. The person who then murders the other pet as well gets the job. If you live alone, you might just scrape through until the next collection. If not, it’s a choice between the council dump and a spot of illegal fly-tipping. Given the mess 2-week-old nappies, chicken bones, and dog food tins are going to make of the family saloon, I’d always go for option B. Simply do it a bin liner at a time – one in the skip down the road, one in a neighbour’s newly-emptied bin, and so on. Just make sure you do it in the dead of night.
And watch out for the dog walkers.