The Trash of Artcans

>> Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To at least a very small extent, we all have some sort of nesting instinct.  Some of us have a stronger one than others. Some people will decorate everything in a matched and obsessive way, while others see absolutely no problem with two different end tables in a living room, provided they both still work.

No matter where you are on the spectrum, chances are, at one time or another, you found yourself in need of a wastebasket.

Wastebaskets are not cheap, unless you count the cardboard box you found in your garage, or unless you are pack-ratty enough to have taken one from your grandfather's house when you were cleaning it out after he passed away.  (Admitting nothing, here.)  Heck, even the cardboard box probably cost money, for at least whatever came inside it.

If you were to wander to a store, looking for a wastebasket, some retailer could easily attempt to persuade you to purchase a decorative bin for your trash for anywhere from $10 to $110 dollars, depending on whether the matching bathroom excessories come with it, it is made of gen-u-ine faux leather or rhinestones, or has cute froggies painted on it. 

I've been eyeing some wastebaskets for years, including one that periodically shows up in the Levenger catalogue to be used in a home library.  (Need I say more?)  It looks like it is made of the same material as "leather bound books."  Eh, from Levenger, maybe it is.  Anyway, I don't have it, and I never will until a plastic facsimile appears within my price range.  I just can't justify triple digits for trash.  Until then, my library is ... wastebasket-less.  I just can't find one that doesn't look ... well ... trashy ... in my otherwise scholarly room. 

Then, of course, we have those really fun wastbaskets for kids rooms, with cartoons and all the bright colors.  (I mean, how neat, right?  We buy them in part because we wish we had them when we were little.)

Finally, and possibly the cutest of all, we have those adorable little wastebaskets for the rooms of babies and toddlers.  Little lambs or lions or sheep, with lids and swinging tops shaped like heads for the trash to pass through....

And there you have it.  You have just been lulled into it too.  For at least one little moment there, you actually bought into the idea that a wastebasket in a baby or toddler's room should be cute and animal-ly, and have adorable moving parts.  You have just agreed that a bin for trash in the room of a small child should look irresistably like a toy.

What on Earth we were all thinking?  Don't we know what goes IN those trash bins?  Why in heaven's name would anyone in this germ-hysteria country ever make a trashcan so much fun to play with?  We have collectively lost our ever-loving minds is what we have done.  We don't want it to look like what it is (a nasty receptacle for things we don't want to have to touch anymore), so we make it look pleasant.  Pleasant.  In a room where children reach to grab all that is bright, colorful, or animal-looking.

Man.  Aren't we bright?

The sad thing is, none of this even occurred to me until the first day I set my kid down on the floor of his own room and watched him eye that trashcan.

Yep.  I fell for it too.  Darn cuteness.

3 comments:

johncaveosborne.com June 2, 2010 at 10:07 PM  

i'm glad to see your ordeal hasn't affected your razor-sharp wit. "(admitting nothing here.)" made me choke on my water. literally.

very clever post.

Susan June 2, 2010 at 11:10 PM  

Too funny Karin!

Karin Kysilka June 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM  

John, maybe someday I'll take a picture of that trash can that may or may not have lived in my grandfather's house. (I can neither confirm, nor deny said trash can's prior residence. You will need to ask the trash can.)

Susan, do you have any cute animal-y trash cans in YOUR house?

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