From The Kitchen Table

by Gillian Wood

Here am I on a Saturday night in January at the kitchen table. Everyone is out. I am feeling suitably grumpy so I decided that, rather than inflict this on everyone else, I’d have an evening with myself and begin a running commentary on life from the kitchen table.

I think I will begin with the table itself. It’s always good to describe your surroundings and give your audience an idea of where you’re at. So here goes.

1. The table is oval, 170cm x 100cm approximately
2. There are 5 chairs (the 6th is in my room)
3. There is a plate of ‘Spanish Goodness’
4. One mug, one cup, one plate
5. Mo’s work

I am sitting at the top of the table beside the radiator on the broken chair. It has no back. I tried to fix it once with superglue. It didn’t work.

Ok, so now you get the gist of where I’m at. Seeing as I’m on my own at the moment, and have no one to talk to I’ll tell you about the programme I’m watching. It’s about global warming. It would seem that we are doing a most excellent job of ignoring it. I remember being at primary school and doing projects on global warming. That was almost 20 years ago. We did projects on acid rain (that used to scare me, acid falling from the sk and burning you…) and we were encouraged to recycle.

My friend and I decided that we would take it upon ourselves to recycle all our classmate’s drinks cans. Bear in mind that this was when drinks cans were made from both steel and aluminium, and only the aluminium cans were to be recycled. We collected the cans (hang on, I’ve just been slightly distracted. Louis Theroux’s brother is almost cute, he’s the guy narrating the programme on global warming). Sorry. We collected the cans, hundreds of them, and then took them to my parents’ house to test whether or not they were aluminium.

My friend and I had a magnet each (they stick to steel). We got through about 20 cans. Then we got bored. So we left them. They lived in my parents’ garden for about a month, rusting (the steel ones) away quietly. My mum got pissed off. She threw the cans out. That was the end of our recycling project.

I carried on recycling though, all the way through school and then when I went to university in Glasgow. It all came to an abrupt halt when I reached London. I moved from halls to a house in NW6. I was excited about moving to the house. It had a garden. I had a vision of growing my own herbs (I got as far as planting some mint). I then began to notice that my neighbours all had their own little green boxes beside their bins. ‘Hooray!’ I thought. ‘I can recycle! I can do my bit for the environment.’ So I called the council. I dutifully asked for my little green box. I waited and waited. I called again. I waited. I e-mailed, nothing. I wrote to them, still nothing.

So what should I do? As I watch this programme I wonder what the hell we are all doing. Floods, tsunamis, weirdly hot summers, weirdly hot winters, no snow anymore, hurricanes in Sweden, oceans and seas gradually rising. I for one would like to do my bit. Do you hear me? I want my little green box.

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