When You’ve Bin Had

In the area where I live, it seems like the only place there are bins is in the railway station. And those were only put there last week.

The same goes for any area of Dublin outside the city centre.

Running my first marathon some two and a half years ago, a street urchin from Dublin 12 ran up alongside me clutching a shiny bar of something, saying ‘here mister, take wunna deeze. It’s wha Sonia O’Sullivan eats’. As I was beginning to hit what some people call ‘the wall’, it felt like a good time to get some extra energy. 30 seconds and one mouthful of sickly sweet banana-flavoured chewy plastic later, I needed to find a bin without breaking my stride. If I broke my stride, I wasn’t sure I’d get it back. This particular stretch of the marathon wound through quite a few roads of the estates on the south side of the city, so I was confident of finding one sooner or later.

20 minutes later, now half way through Phoenix Park, I was beginning to worry that my finishing line photograph would show me crossing the line with a half-eaten banana bar in my hand. Being a bit of a stickler for civic responsibility, I was loathe to throw the bar on the ground for someone else to pick up. I had run 3 miles along the roads of Dublin’s south side without finding a single bin. In what seemed a cruel parody of a relay race, I ended up passing the bar to a rather tougher and grimier street urchin from Dublin 7, asking him to dispose of it. Load lightened, I headed for the finish line.

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June 2005
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