There is a big blue bin in the corner by the photocopier, filled with multi-coloured pieces of shredded plastic. It is mostly CDs, DVDs, and other assorted plasticy office paraphenelia that can be run through a cross-hatched shredder. Normal stuff for a government office.
It isn’t office supply detritus to me though. My Friday-addled mind has immediately latched onto the description of Technicolor Confetti, and it is sparkling enticingly under flourescent lamps. If not for the sharp edges that would cut my hands, and the strange looks from co-workers (and massive clean up afterwards), I would dig in with my hands and throw it everywhere with abandon, perhaps playing fancy disco music at the same time.
*hums “I like the Night Life” off-key for a few bars*
The shiny sparkles that I want to play in brings a childhood memory alive. I went to a friend’s birthday party, I think we were both turning ten that year. Balloons were everywhere, streamers, and lots of wrapped gifts. But most importantly, tin foil confetti covered the formica kitchen table where the day-glo orange Dukes of Hazzard birthday cake with the General Lee topper was displayed. I was fascinated. But not by the cake.
I remember picking up each tiny metal square of confetti by wetting my finger and pressing down, one by one, and putting them into my pocket when no one was looking. I brought them home, and turned my pocket inside-out onto my bedside table excitedly, like a thief admiring her take. I watched them sparkle when the sunset came through my window when I was going to bed. They were so beautiful, like faceted jewels, or moonstones. I would rearrange them every day, putting the red ones together, the blues around them in a circle, or mixing them all up. I would count them every day. Such a valuable possession for a young girl was found in a handful of tin foil confetti.
Eventually, as with most things, I lost interest and moved on to other toys and interests. At one point, they disappeared off my bedside table. I thought nothing of it, until one day when my father emptied the litter box, he mumbled:
“What in God’s name did the cats eat?”