Monday, January 9, 2012

Bring out the old, ring in the new

Yesterday, my wife made me take the paper out for recycling. Well, what she actually did was to drag the bin out to the road, come back in and remind me that the next day — today — was collection day for paper. This meant I had to drag the paper out of the house and down the drive to the street in order to put the paper in the bin she’d just dragged… you get the picture.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned this on this blog before, but Germany, ever the eco-conscious nation, has a complicated system of colour-coded bins and bags for different types of waste, so that it can all be correctly sorted and categorized and recycled. It’s broadly a national thing but with regional variations. A friend of mine, recently moved to rural Rhineland-Palatinate, tells me she has a monthly glass collection. We have to take our glass to the bottle bank.

As a result, of course, knowing when each collection is due isn’t easy; fortunately, municipal councils print calendars telling you exactly which collection to expect when. And when my wife told me the paper collection was due today, that’s because the calendar had told her so, and what German would doubt anything printed by a local council official?

This evening, the paper still hadn’t been collected. I checked the calendar. I looked for the paper collection dates. Once a month, always on a Monday. The January collection was scheduled for Monday, 10th.

Which sounds about right… but today’s not the 10th, today’s the 9th. Strange, I thought: must be a misprint. Unless…

I looked again.

I then threw away last year’s schedule, and replaced it with this year’s schedule, which had somehow managed to bury itself under some paperwork.

My one consolation is that most of our neighbours appear to have made the same mistake.

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