Excuse the pun, but I'm feeling boxed in, smothered under a mountain of cardboard boxes with no end in sight as a relentless procession of deliverymen and women arrive at the house with a variety of boxes, big, medium and small.
I'm now on first-name terms with couriers in their vans, cars and bikes. I get a big salute from them, even when they're not calling to my door.
It was bad before, but lockdown has produced an avalanche of online deliveries. None, I might add, for me.
But what inspired genuine anger and a blazing family row last week was a huge big brown cardboard box from Boots, the chemists.
"Why the hell are you buying all this stuff," I shouted, after weeks pleading with them (the wife and three daughters) to please stop buying STUFF. "We have enough things already, we don't need any more." I continued. holding this massive box, desperately wondering what the hell they'd bought now.
We don't have an attic, but if we had, it would be full. As it is, the shed is bulging, there's stuff perched on top of wardrobes, under beds, hidden in places you wouldn't think exist. We just don't have any more room.
"It's a toothbrush," answered the eldest daughter.
"It couldn't be, I don't bloody well believe you. Open it now," I demanded.
She opened this massive box and sitting in the middle. marooned in an ocean of packaging. sat this small box with an electric toothbrush inside.
I'm losing my marbles here. Asos, Zara, Boots, Amazon to name but a few, I hate them all with a passion. Then there's the pizza deliveries that come like a deluge, but we won't go into that.
At the end of the day, I have to get rid of all these boxes and cartons and the inner padding that can be reams of paper, bubble wrap or balloon-like bags in which the said items come cocooned.
I suppose, before long, drones will be dive-bombing the back garden with more conspicuous consumption.
On summer nights I've been sitting outside in front of my brazier, ruminating in solitude on the strange world we live in, looking up at the starlit sky and gently feeding part of this cardboard mountain to the flames. I thought nobody noticed until a local's hand appeared above the garden wall one night with a bag of documents (don't ask, I didn't look) and politely asked: "Would you be able to burn these for me?"
Looking at the mountain of cardboard that has accumulated around me in just a week, I feel overwhelmed by the volume and wondered what the criteria is for the on-line producers of all this cardboard who have become so central to the lives of modern consumers.
Unlike the volume of material they produce, their guidelines are clear and concise, just three words: Avoidance, reuse, recycle.
Well, let's just say in my experience 'Avoidance' is a joke. They just seem to fling whatever item has been ordered into the nearest box, regardless of the size of the box or the item, pack in more padding and plonk it on the conveyor belt for delivery. I don't blame the poor workers, I read about Amazon and its work practices and I think Jeff Bezos, about to become the world's first trillionaire, must be one of the most disgusting people in history, getting as rich as Croesus on the back of badly paid and appallingly treated workers. But that's another day's work.
With the volume of cardboard coming through the front door there is no chance of Reuse and Recycling is problematic. There are plenty of places nearby to recycle bottles, clothes and cans, but not cardboard and paper products. Okay, maybe this is a First World problem and the ideal solution, I know, is to stop buying things, but I might as well be talking to the wall.
As for the outrageously sized box from Boots, it has inspired me. I live near one of their outlets and when they close their doors tonight, there's going to be one very big box sitting outside waiting for them to dispose of.
It's time they started cleaning up their own mess instead of leaving it all to me.