Plastic containers full of marital disaster

There is an unwritten law in our house that says plastic containers are someone else’s responsibility.

We don’t have a cupboard for our plastic containers. If we did it would need to be the size of a ship container, because our entire kitchen is some kind of weird plastic-attracting magnet, but that’s not the point.

The point is that plastic containers never, ever get beyond the draining board, and even that far is a tortuously slow journey filled with recriminations and divorce lawyers.

No one ever wants to wash them up; and when, as the result of some acrimonious vilification on the part of a partner, they finally do get washed up – no one ever put them away.

I don’t understand it. They’re not unlike storage jars and they’re much handier for the fridge. Indeed, plastic containers serve a very useful purpose in the kitchen; and with many of them you have the bonus of feeling good about doing your civic recycling duty.

But they get treated universally as though they arrived in our homes filled with cultures of bubonic plague.

In our house that might even be true, because most of them start their journey through our domestic life gathering furry green mould in the fridge, where they once contained cheese, but finally contain something resembling a highly toxic chemical weapon.

These are the little pots that don’t even make it to the left hand side of the sink – the pre-washing up side, so to speak. They remain in the fridge until they dissolve or specialists with rubber suits, space helmets and breathing apparatus come and take them away.

But even without them we have enough little plastic containers to contain the sordid leftovers of every meal that has ever been eaten in Townsville for the past 50 years.

As I write they are sitting — all of them — in a precarious mountain upon the draining board. They are cutting out the light. I daren’t walk too close because I’m afraid the faintest floor tremor will set them off in a container slide that will dwarf some of the world’s more serious natural disasters.

I don’t know if or how a cascade of 16 trillion little plastic containers and their lids can hurt you, and I don’t want to find out.

What I do want to find out is why?

Why don’t they ever go into a cupboard.

And if they do go into a cupboard, why are they driven in their with a cricket bat and mixed up with a whisk?

We are capable of tidiness, my wife and I. Our glasses and plates and cutlery are all in their place, appropriately stacked or placed. Even our storage jars are lined up with labels that very likely (but not necessarily) identify their contents correctly.

But plastic containers are the third class citizens of our life. We avoid them. They do the jobs that no one else will do, and yet we treat them with contempt.

They are hurled into cupboards without a thought – when they hurled into cupboards at all. Mostly they sit on the draining board, not quite drying out in the way that crockery does. Never quite looking clean the way cutlery does. Homeless, unloved, viewed with suspicion and distaste.

“It’s funny how no one ever puts the plastic containers away,” I said to my wife.

“I suppose you think you’re better at it than me..?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But it’s what you meant!”

My marriage is being driven on to rocks, not of limestone or granite, but of plastic!