Do you remember the famous scene from American Beauty, where some bloke films a plastic bag floating about and sees it as proof of the existence of beauty, benevolent forces at work and so on and so forth?
Well, he was wrong. The bags have an altogether more sinister agenda, and I speak from personal experience...
The time: a couple of nights ago, about half eleven. The place: the main road round the corner from my flat. The situation: walking to the shop to get some toffee popcorn (I was going for a lo-tech "home cinema experience".)
There I am, sauntering along merrily. I notice a plastic carrier bag being blown along by the wind - it's moving in a fairly haphazard fashion, roughly in my direction. However, when said bag gets to a point about ten feet away, it veers to the right, speeds up and comes STRAIGHT AT ME.
I have a brief vision of the bag wrapping itself about my ankle, knocking me over and dragging me off the pavement and into the path of a No. 49 bus. It is like the start of some terrible straight-to-video trash horror movie. (I know, however, that if it were to actually happen it wouldn't ever become a movie, just a grimly amusing headline in the style of "Window Cleaner Killed by Giant Pencil".*)
Luckily, there is just enough time to take evasive action. Leaping over the marauding receptacle, I scurry onwards toward the safety of the shop. Going in, I happen to glance back down the road, only to see that the bag has CHANGED DIRECTION and is heading for me once again, billowing eerily all the while.
In the shop. I find the goods I came for, queue for a bit, have a brief chat with the cashier and read the headlines at the newspaper stand on my way out. All this takes at least four or five minutes, and yet... When I get outside, the damnable thing is lurking only few feet away, swirling about impatiently!
Here, however, the drama ends. Being too much of an innate coward to confront the thing, I make my way home skulking along the kerb, using various items of street furniture (bicycle rack; tree; kids hanging about outside Maccy D's) as barriers between it and myself. I reach safety.
But the menace is still out there - and one day, it may happen again...
*Genuine headline, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/mar/14/local-newspaper-billboard-headlines
N.B. All of the above did happen; I really am the kind of person who gets a bit freaked out by random stuff like plastic bags.