We are so high up, at first I mistook her for just another plastic bag. I actually had to retreat into the kitchen to fetch the scratched set of binoculars which once belonged to my grandfather. I am a nosy motherf@cker at times, I must admit. Add that to my list of vices.

Well, alright. It transpired it was just another plastic sack, but that doesn\’t mean we don\’t have our ration of Francis of Assisis round here. Albeit most are content to simply drizzle breadcrumbs from their windows. Or leftovers and glass bottles; and on one notable occasion a pair of scissors which very nearly impaled my skull. There is even a Chinese family with impeccably green credentials who rise every morning at the crack of dawn and sally forth to uplift beer cans and used syringes before the many children shared between twenty-three floors spew out in a tide.

A regular battalion of weasel faced brats watch the elderly matriarch stooping to retrieve the debris which has accumulated overnight. They too are forced out of their homes as soon as the sun comes up. They watch her dispassionately as they cram crisps into their mouths. They drop their emptied packets under CCTV cameras mounted on the walls and run.

In less than a year they will begin to swagger. This is the ritual.

I cannot quite grasp why the Chinese family persist with it. But I admire their dogged perseverance all the same.

I hear Bill Burroughs whine in my ear: \’ \”Aren\’t you going to do something?\” I demanded. He looked at me and yawned.\’

That old woman refuses to be cowed. Like a peasant sowing the fields while the B52\’s buzz overhead.


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