Before I get into this, a quick FYI. I am writing about this online and haven't/won't be mentioning it on the radio because if I tell this story on-air the lady involved could hear, and I feel like it could potentially upset her (and I don’t want that). However in saying that I think it really is too funny to go untold.
Back in early October Kerre and myself got a phone call from a lady called *Diane* who mentioned that she had bad arthritis and that therefore struggled to get her rubbish and recycling bins out sometimes (God knows what we were talking about and how we got onto bins, but we did). She went on to say she had people to do every now and again, but on some occasions struggled.
I could see Diane was calling from Auckland so I asked whereabouts, thinking if it was close to work/home I could nip around on the way home and pop the bins out for her. It turned out she lived in Mt Eden near Eden Park, which is literally ten minutes from my house, so I put her back to the producer and given collection day was tomorrow, said I would arrange to pop over after the show.
The show ends, and long story short Diane decides she doesn’t need me to put the bins out after all. Turns out there isn’t much rubbish.
I tell her to let me know when there is, and I'll pop around and sort it.
The following Monday around 3pm I get a text on the work text number saying, “Still not much rubbish, don’t worry about the bins, Diane”.
I reply “No problems, maybe next week?” “OK,” comes the response.
The week after it's the same again, still not enough rubbish to go out and the favour gets delayed yet another week.
Fast forward to last Monday (the 29th) and finally there is enough rubbish to go out. A text saying as much arrives on the work text number just after 3pm.
The saga of Diane and her bins is now amusing me to no end. This marks the fourth Monday in a row where, whether or not Diane's bins need to go out, have enough trash and therefore if I am required to take them out, has become the focus of my Monday afternoon. More often than not part of the broadcast - and people accuse us of talking rubbish?
“Perfect," I say "I have a meeting after the show but after that I will come and take them out.”
Diane (as expected) is incredibly sweet. She lives on her own in a block of flats down a long driveway. Has been there for 20 odd years and has spent most of that time listening to Newstalk ZB - listens pretty much 24/7, doesn’t miss a beat, LOVES Bruce Russell (who doesn’t), and is genuinely chuffed I have come to take her bins out.
Anyway, mid-chat a women drives up the drive asking if it is my car semi-blocking the driveway and if I could move it as her son-in-law is about to drop some furniture off and my car will be in the way. I apologise and say that I will move it as soon as I have taken the bins down, say my farewells to Diane and head down the drive, only for the son-in-law to arrive, driving around my car and blocking me and the bins in.
Hilariously it turns out I know this lady's son-in-law (and you might too), it was Ben Boyce from Jono and Ben. Small world.
“What are you doing here?” he asks, “Is that your Grandmother?”, “A family friend?”, “No”, I reply to all, explaining how in fact I have found myself here, which moves into what I’ve been up to and vice versa, and eventually wraps up with me offering to help him move the furniture he’d come to drop off.
With that sorted, Ben and his family left leaving the driveway clear so I could finally take the bins out…
The bins now out, I find myself chatting to Ben’s mother-in-law about Diane, life, travel, Newstalk ZB, and she very kindly offers to bring the bins in for me (and Diane) once they have been emptied. Appreciative of not having to make a trip back, I bid my farewells and head home for dinner.
Tuesday 31st October (the next day).
It was Mum’s birthday so in the evening Mum and I caught up and watched the new film Borg vs McEnroe - very cool, especially as I had never heard of Borg before and had no idea who won Wimbledon in 1980! Anyway, the movie wraps up, I say goodbye to Mum, check my phone and there is a text from Diane
“Someone has put my bins by my front door. Not a good look. Diane"
Now don’t get me wrong, the bins were kept by the garage, not the front door, and if something has a place, it has a place, but what a text! The tone!
And figuring I was going to have to sort it at some point and now was as good a time as any, I get in the car, drive to Mt Eden, yell "hello" through the door, and put the bins back where they were meant to be.
“That’s what you get,” said my friend Cathryn in hysterics as I relayed the story to her down the phone as I drove home. “That’s what you get.”
And she’s right, why is it when you try and help the smallest things always end up being the most complicated? WHY? Pulling into my driveway and wrapping up my conversation to Cat my phone beeps and its another text from Diane.
“Thank you,” the texts reads. “You need not have done it tonight. I appreciate your kindness. Diane”
So she says.