Posted in Anxiety, Writing

What a terrible thing to be a dustbin

Things I find in the mountains around Omura

So I’ve been writing these blog posts in bits and bobs because my mind is racing lately and I guess it’s probably best to invite you along for the ride because sometimes it’s fun to read the mad ramblings of a blogger whose sentence can carry for a good three lines. Good day to you, reader!

I sit in a very crowded spot near the door at my job right now. The door is just over my shoulder to my left. I both love and hate this door. On one hand, it gives me a view of the world outside the office. Even on days where I don’t have many classes, I feel included in the hustle and bustle of it all as students and teachers alike frequent the little portal. But I also hate the hustle and bustle of it all. It makes me feel suffocated. I’ve never identified as claustrophobic, but those 10 minutes between classes, when the students and teachers will walk confidently about, make me question if I know my own triggers.

The building is burning! That’s really how it feels. It’s burning, and the fire is squeezing all the oxygen out of the air. I can feel myself running out of time to live. Luckily, 1 minute before the next class, the room usually thins out again, and I am left alone. I breathe freely again. I can enjoy the door once more.

There is a basin, a shelf, and a bin behind me too. This wouldn’t be too bad, but in reality, the space behind my chair is also the passageway to the admin staff office. This means slightly more traffic than for those who only need to worry about their desk mates needing to get to their seats. There is enough space behind me for two skinny, full-grown adults to walk side by side as they make their way to their destination. Somehow, despite this reality, there is something that disturbs the human mind.

In fact, there is enough space behind me for a small hyena to feast on the carcass of a baby buffalo! But I tell you, every hour without fail, for 5, 6, maybe 7 times, someone will knock the back of my chair as they pass. At first, this used to irk me, because what the hell? What is wrong with you? Can you not control your body? It bothered me until one day I had to walk behind peoples chairs to get to one of my coworkers’ desks. It is on that day that I discovered the mental problem that is causing me such discomfort and distress.

There is something that disturbs the human mind when it comes to spatial valuation. Unlike cats and dogs and other animals who have whiskers to reassure them that they can get through a space, we humans have to rely on our eyes – a very unreliable source. Your eyes will tell you a parking space is too tight for your car when in reality most parking spaces are made wide enough to accommodate even the widest of vehicles. Your eyes will tell you that the road is way too narrow for your bicycle to pass next to a car when there is more than enough space for you and the car and maybe even a pedestrian too. Your eyes will tell you a lot of false truths, and that is what has been happening in my office.

There is a bin behind me, just behind my right shoulder where I sit. A harmless thing, perhaps, if you’ve never walked around a Japanese teachers’ office. When I went exploring around the office, I found that these bins, which are littered all over the place, are much like land mines. It’s very easy to bump into them, take a tumble and lose your dignity. With this thought in mind, while walking around, you go the extra mile to avoid the dangers of these heinous objects. Squeezing yourself closer to the empty or sometimes occupied seats of your coworkers.

There is something that disturbs the human mind when it sees what it believes to be potential obstacles in its path. There is something that defeats logic and reason. How could such a small bin take up such a large space? I move the bin now. I shove it between the small space that exists between the basin and the shelf. I push it in as far as it will go. Sometimes I squeeze it till it loses its shape. Whatever it takes to make the thing less visible. Suddenly people can see what I’ve known all along. The space behind me is wide enough to park a small motorcycle.

Sometimes I will feel the bumps again. A quick peek over my shoulder usually confirms what I already know to be true. The dustbin has shifted. It’s not in anyone’s way. It never has been. Not really, anyway. But the bumps continue. What a terrible thing to be a dustbin.


I'm a writer with some stuff on my mind.

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