My workstation is a curious thing. When I clock-on on a Monday morning I greet it with a mixture of spleen, bleak acceptance and an odd proprietorial sense of comfort. It’s mine. I might not like the thought of another week at work doing tasks that nature never intended me for but while I’m here by God I’ll make sure my presence is writ large. Me and my desk are as one.
I own it.
Pens. Pencils. PC. Prittstick.
All mine. They may strictly speaking belong to my employer but they’ve been supplied for my use and my use alone and woe betide anyone who borrows my stapler and doesn’t bring it back. Blood has been shed for less.
This sense of ownership extends to my bin.
It’s mine. For my use. For my waste.
And few things irritate me more than arriving at work of a morning, feeling hound-dog miserable that another week will pass without me being employed as a script writer for the BBC, to find that someone – some lazy so-and-so with their own bin – has tossed their detritus into the hallowed plastic bag lined maw of my own personal trash receptacle.
My desk is right near the office door, see. It’s the last workstation people pass on their way to freedom.
So you can see how it happens. Someone scoffs a banana on their way to the door, or takes a last slug on a bottle of tequila, or maybe quaffs down a Müller Crunch Corner that they didn’t quite get round to at lunchtime and, with an arm action worthy of the Harlem Globe Trotters, the offending banana skin / Tequila bottle complete with maggot / yoghurt pot ends up in my bin.
Foodstuffs that I have not had the pleasure of consuming. Foodstuffs that have energized and nourished people other than me.
Their germs and their lipstick – maybe even a few stray nasal hairs – are still around the edges of their cast-off comestibles.
In my bin.
Great. Now the cleaner will think they are mine. Will think that I am the sort of person who discards banana skins in a way that leaves yellow stringy bits decorating the sides of my bin like a cheap Christmas decoration. That I am alcoholic. Worse. That I besmirch the holy temple of my body with a Müller Crunch Corner.
It’s the worst kind of identity theft there is (well, perhaps not as bad as having your credit cards cloned, houses bought in your name, debts run up on your accounts and your family killed by the identity thief and the blame put on you so you have to be investigated by Keeley Hawes – though I can see some positives in that. Note to self: amend that last sentence before the wife reads it).
It’s identity defamation. It’s identity libel.
Or identity... something.
Look. I don’t know what it is OK? It’s just annoying. And I’m fed up with it. And it’s Monday morning. And it’s MY bloody bin!