This old litter attendant is ON STRIKE.
There’s nothing to make a person feel more Methuselah-like than a bad back. I’ve been walking around like an old hag, clutching my gnarled spine. The pain every time I bend has made me realise just how many bits of pink plastic I pick up every day. Things will have to change: by hook or by crooked walking stick, X will be trained to pick up her own pink dross.
I used to live in a fairly neat house. I remember when my social worker came to check out the house for suitability for me to be approved to adopt. “Not very child-friendly is it?’ she said disapprovingly, as she scanned my white-walled, newly-shelved, tenant-enticing styling. “There’d be something a bit weird about a spinster without even a boyfriend or state approval to have a child having a house all set up for a baby,’ I seethed – inwardly, of course; I never dared to disagree with the statuesque woman whom I sincerely hoped one day might morph a stork.
I should have seen the writing on the newly wallpapered walls the moment X crawled into the house. After I’d only had her for about a fortnight the architect-designer, who’d helped with my kitchen extension, came over to the house to take some snaps for his portfolio. ” Babies and minimalism don’t really go together, do they?’ he said mildly critical, as he surveyed the 3d version of his computer-aided design accessorised with baby bric -a –brac. I smiled my new smug-mummy smile. I totally knew he was totally wrong and that his boringly perfect design was totally improved by a few bright wooden toys. Just look at Elle Deco, there’s always some vintage wooden horse rocking on the real stone floor. Anyway, we didn’t litter, we artfully scattered. Totally different.
Now things aren’t scattered, artfully or otherwise; they’re definitely littered. Kiddie litter is everywhere. You know the way that little bits of white cat litter kicks into every nook and crevice? Kiddie litter is far worse because it’s not organic. The bits of pink plastic do not ever silt naturally into the floorboards. The older she gets the worse it gets. Baby toys come in manageable wooden lumps that encourage almost OCD neatness in children, rings that stack in size, shapes that post into boxes. Toys to spread the wings of the imagination also spread all over the house. Bubble-wrapped packages spill forth multiplicities of homeless design accessories: little gold phones, miniscule plastic Manolos, tiny hairbrushes. Even the accessories have accessories: the little pink doggie with it’s little pink basket and hairbrush. Where will it end?
Well, now I can’t pick it all up and shove it all into the pink dolls-house. I literally can’t get down to floor level without clutching onto chairs and doing heavyweight lifting manoeuvers just to hoist my heavyweight bottom up again. Finally X has been picking her own litter up and all I’ve been doing is heavyweight bellowing. She’s doing quite well, but I think it’s telling on her. She actually asked me how my back was this morning.