He despised the plastic packaging on the fruit and veg in the supermarket, and knew that the contents would wither, shrivel and turn into maggot-infested goo long before the wrapper began its long, difficult decomposition. He would remove the cellophane and polystyrene from every purchase before putting the produce in his unbleached cotton tote. ‘If you want to use this unnecessary and wasteful packaging,’ he would preach to the manager, ‘you can deal with the consequences.’ His wife refused to go to the supermarket with him anymore.
Kevin disliked dripping taps and the constant plot plop plop of wasted resources flowing down the porcelain and into the drains instead of down the throats of thirsty African children. He raged about his wife flushing sanitary items down the loo where they would wend their way through the sewers to the water treatment plant, only to be scooped and dumped onto a conveyor belt littered with condoms, baby wipes and cotton buds. Kevin’s wife moved into the spare room.
Kevin hated seeing appliances not being used still plugged in and would patrol his house, yanking out the wires of sleeping TVs and hairdryers. But most of all, Kevin hated an empty socket with the switch in the ‘on’ position. He imagined the electricity flowing out from the open outlet, snaking around the house and infiltrating the fibres of the tomatoes growing on the kitchen windowsill, the herbs in the bathroom and the webs of the many spiders patrolling the corners of every room. That’s why he swapped his hand-knitted tammy for a tin foil cap whenever he went into a neighbour’s house. Of course, it was made from recycled foil. His neighbours’ BBQs became family only affairs and Kevin and his wife were never included again.
He recycled and reused almost everything. He bought his clothes from Oxfam and got his furniture from skips. When he brought home an upholstered pouf, sodden in cat pee and jumping with fleas that he found in a container outside a social-security doss house, his wife left him and moved in with a car salesman named Jonathan who bought her Chanel and grapes wrapped in plastic.
At least, thought Kevin, he was a used car salesman.
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