Mae West and Me
Dear friends – I know Mae West’s saying Is this a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me? is somewhat of a cliché but I now understand that there also is truth in the saying. But more about that later.
Over the past week I’ve enjoyed several new experiences with the most outstanding being my first visit to our waste disposal and recycling centre. At World’s End, no council rubbish or recycling collection service is available and so disposal of any refuse and recycling requires a 100 km round trip to the Huonville Waste Transfer Station. Klady loves this exercise which she undertakes about every three weeks and I’m lucky that this time she let me tag along.
I was very impressed with the whole process starting with Klady loading six different bins and bags full of cleaned and carefully sorted trash into the car. The trip was uneventful; up the mountain, around the mountain, down the mountain, and along the river until we reached a dog’s olfactory heaven.
What an interesting place! Neat and tidy, mega recycling bins and literally tens of roosters, chickens and little chicks parading, scratching and running around.
The lady at the pay station did say to me: “Don’t chase or eat the chickens – apparently they taste dreadful”. So I was very careful just to put my head out of the window to sniff the mixture of interesting smells with the most memorable scents coming from a bin marked ‘General Household Waste’. Yum.
Klady has always been big on recycling and minimising her waste and I put a lot of her attitude down to the ten years she lived in Switzerland. Klady - who can at times be a little strident - is also very obedient when it comes to recycling and I now understand why.
This is a true story. When she lived in the middle of the city of Basel, there were large recycling bins around for the residents who could bring their bottles, plastics and cans to the bins strictly between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm Mondays – Saturdays ONLY.
It was a beautiful summer evening and Klady had just arrived home to her apartment on the River Rhine. What domestic chores to do today? Well, an after-work summer evening stroll to the nearest recycling centre seemed a great idea. Dump the bottles, recycle the paper bags and enjoy a leisurely walk home.
Luckily the recycling bins were just 500 metres away and placed alongside the river in a little park. The park was also home to an injecting room and punk social club which even at 7:00 pm emanated super-loud, discordant, scratchy music.
Klady looked at her watch – Oh No!! It was 7.02 pm and two minutes past the official recycling deadline. With the typical Aussie ‘no problems it’s just 2 minutes attitude’ she lifted the first bottle to be put into the clear glass slot.
From behind the recycling bin out jumped a buff 30 year-old man wearing budgie smugglers (tiny men’s swimmers), that we Australians know Tony Abbott would have been proud of. And in his pants was a distinctive bulge.
“Verboten!,” said the man pointing at his watch to which Klady said – “…what’s two minutes?”
“What’s two minutes? You are a criminal, that’s what the two minutes makes you,’” he responded. To which Klady pointed out the park residents next to the bins were taking drugs just in front of him.
“Ah…. but you are getting rid of your rubbish two minutes after the deadline.”
“You must be joking. Can I recycle these bottles and walk home and promise Never Ever do it again?”
And then that’s when Klady saw the large bulge in his trousers start to move as he put his hand into his swimmers and out he pulled his police badge, photo ID, handcuffs and a gun.
Staring at his swimmers, all Klady could think of was: Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
She desperately wanted to say it to him in German but the sentence just didn’t form.
Instead, she repacked her bag and walked home, only to be followed by the policeman in micro Speedos checking that she took everything home and stored them in the cellar until the next legal disposal time.
This episode had a major impact on Klady’s German language skills and just in case she may need the phrase once again she has memorised:
“Ist das ein Revolver da in Ihrer Hose oder freuen Sie sich nur, mich zu sehen?”