I hate posting letters in the box. I hate the way it feels so final. I check the envelope both sides – names correct? Return address on the back? Sealed firmly? Yes, yes, yes.
Just post the damn thing.
But instead I stand there, hand hovering at the mouth of the box, unable to let go. In the end, I go into the post office, join the queue, hand the letter to the lady over the counter who drops it into a big white sack. I like the security of knowing that, worst comes to worst, I can always run back, line up again, find the same lady who served me, and say:
“remember that letter I just posted? Yeah, the one in the orange envelope. Um, I’ve changed my mind and I want it back. Sorry for the bother. Do you mind?”
There are worse things than looking like an idiot. You could post a letter in the box and never be able to get it back.
The secure waste bin at work operates in the same way. It stands by the photocopier, ostentatious in red, a giant with shiny black wheels. It has a small slot-mouth where you can let go of confidential reports, draft spreadsheets, memos, documents, unfinished manuscripts, all your hopes and dreams.
The giant red wheelie bin gives nothing back. It’s secured with a padlock and an enormous heavy chain for good measure.
After midnight, when the floor is quiet and empty, the red bin is wheeled into the basement of the building and its contents shredded, leaf by leaf by leaf.
You need to think very carefully before posting anything in there.
There are worse things than having to call the fire department to come and cut the wheelie bin open to free your stuck-arm.
You could lose something you meant to hold onto.