Nell Goddard

musings of a clergy child

17 Dec

Tip #38 - Choose your plastic bags carefully

You can tell a lot about a person from their choice of plastic bag. Whether they prefer Tesco or Sainsbury's, if they shop at Waterstones or Blackwells, or, really, if they re-use their plastic bags at all. You see, re-using plastic bags is a brilliant thing to do, and, most of the time, risk free. As long as you check which plastic bags you're giving things to people in. Because if you don't, you might give them more than you anticipated.

This time last year, I was preparing to head off to Zanzibar for three months. As part of my preparation, I had asked if people could lend me some items for my trip - mainly building tools such as hammers, pliers, penknives etc. Thankfully, many people were very generous and I got everything I needed. Sometimes, however, I got a little bit too much information along with the items. This was because some people did not choose their plastic bags carefully.

It was the end of the carol service, and a middle-aged couple in the congregation approached me. They thanked me for my trumpet playing, and then handed over a bag with a few things that 'you might need for your trip'. I looked inside, and there were a number of useful items. I thanked them, and went to place the bag at the front of church with my other things, then went to talk to some more people.

When I returned to pick up my things, a friend of mine, looking somewhat confused, asked me where I had got 'that bag' from. I responded, and he paused, looked at me, and asked if I'd read what was on the plastic bag.  Slightly perturbed, I informed him that I had not. He encouraged me to do so, so I lowered my eyes and proceeded to read what was written on this seemingly innocuous white bag. And there, in big black letters, were the words 'FUSION. Flavoured Condoms.'

You see, there are many things that, as a vicar's daughter, you learn about parishioners. How they like their tea, which service they prefer, who they can't stand to make conversation with. The state of their sex life, however? Not something you really care to know. But, it seems, there are some things from which you just cannot escape.

When presented with such a plastic bag, and such knowledge, one has any number of options. Mention it? Don't mention it? Carry on like nothing has happened? Pretend that the bag is yours and see how many parishioners you can shock? Hide the plastic bag in another plastic bag? Laugh your head off? Take the plastic bag home and place it in amongst all the other plastic bags beside the freezer as a mildly amusing prank on your clergy parents? For me, the choice was a no-brainer...

Nell Goddard

Hi, I’m Alianore. I used to be known as 'Nell Goddard', but then I got married and changed my name. I’m an author, blogger, and speaker. A theologian, on a good day. A Christian, a storyteller, and a friend. I tweet as @alianoree and you can find more of my writings in my first book, 'Musings of a Clergy Child'.