About twice a week I buy a jacket potato for my lunch from a small sandwich shop near my office.
Each time I go in and ask for a jacket potato, the lady behind the counter puts the potato into a styrofoam carton, and then puts the carton inside a brown paper bag with a handle. Also in the brown paper bag are a paper napkin and a plastic knife and fork, which are wrapped in a second napkin.
Each time, I go back to my office and go to the kitchen to get a proper knife and fork to eat my potato with. Experience has taught me that a plastic knife and fork are just not substantial enough to cope with the demands of eating a jacket potato. I normally just throw away my plastic knife and fork.
However, today I worked out that if I have eaten a jacket potato twice a week throughout the time I have worked in my current job, I have so far thrown away 56 sets of plastic knives and forks. I am beginning to feel a bit bad about this. The plastic knives and forks are dancing around in my head in a slightly malevolent way, looking all spiky and accusatory.
The problem is that I can’t really think of anything very useful I could do with all these surplus knives and forks. I don’t think they’re recyclable, and they certainly aren’t any use for eating with.
Perhaps I could preserve each knife and fork in some kind of conceptual artwork, as a statement about the passing of time and a comment on the banality of contemporary lifestyle and work culture. That would work.
Or then again, perhaps I could simply ask the lady in the sandwich shop not to give me a plastic knife and fork anymore.