STREET furniture has changed significantly over the past few weeks.
I don’t mean benches, works of art, fountains and the like, more the type of pop-up litter that graces our roads and pavements.
Normally the streets, pre their daily sweep and clean, contain the usual collection of bottles, cans, crisp packets and takeaway containers — but not now.
One morning this week on my walk to work the first piece of litter I saw was the Ace of Hearts, which I would later discover is a card of love. happiness and celebration.
Apparently, the ace symbolism combined with the heart may indicate the birth of a new love, or the beginning of an emotionally fulfilling period.
Not for me though. I walked on by. Left it lying there on the pavement. I would normally have picked it up, but it’s a bit risky these days.
I tend to think a lot on these walks at the moment as other pedestrians aren’t really up for much of a chat at the moment, thus a 28-minute consideration of the changing face of rubbish during the coronavirus crisis ensued on this particular day.
Obviously crisp packets are currently much reduced, due to the closure of many of the shops that stock the products they contain, and the takeaway wrappers and plastic containers are largely gone, their makers also suspending trading.
There are, however, plenty of cans and plastic bottles, mostly once housing high-sugar energy drinks. Rotherham certainly seems to be short of energy if it needs this amount of the sugary stuff to get it up and, erm, I was going to say running, but shuffling along is probably more appropriate.
The other trending item of pop-up pavement furniture is the surgical glove. They’re all over the place. Who is worried enough to buy these products to wear in the first place but not sufficiently concerned to dispose of them correctly? “Me, I’m not handing mi cash ower wi’out some gloves on, but when ah’ve finished supping mi Sugar-Rush Hi-NRG Boost I’m chuckin’ ‘em on t’ street. Can’t risk touching a bin, can yer, yer might catch somert. Er...innit.”
Exam papers, there’s another one. I’ve seen a few of those. Probably mocks, but now the exams are off the kids don’t need them, so why bother taking them home and putting them in the recycling when you can just chuck them on the floor? Fail, I think.
When this is all over it would be a plus if the streets could remain as clean as they currently are thanks to those still working on clearing up the daily collection of mess. It’s not difficult, just put it in the bin.
On the other hand, spare a thought for Rotherham’s newly svelte town centre pigeon population, deprived of the formerly plentiful offerings from takeaways and bakeries — it’s probably the fittest they’ve ever been as they’re still allowed out to exercise more than once a day as well as being off the lard.
Thinking back to the Ace of Hearts, the card of happiness and celebration — hardly appropriate at the moment, but maybe the owner is simply holding back on playing the Joker as there’s still a long way to go in this coronavirus game.
Key in office door, another walk over.