Bean there, done that

To be fair, it was my idea in the first place.

‘What if?’ I said, ‘We get a few beanbags? We can whack the logo on them, scatter them around the IT zone where they are doing gaming development and it will be fab.’

This was a good few weeks ago, when the event we were working on was going slowly. We were waiting for people to confirm that they wanted to be there and for the moment at least, we had a big empty space which I could fill with crazy ideas. Anyone who has seen my desk can testify to the vulnerability of any empty surface I interact with.

Since that day, the event has filled to capacity, but somehow the beanbag idea stuck. We purchased a shell and took it down to be embroidered.

Today the lady behind the counter showed us the work.

‘We are hoping we got it in the right place,’ she said, ‘did you just want to try filling it to check before we do the other two?’

We took it back to the office and about an hour later the three of us were standing around it with two giant bags of polystyrene beans wondering who was going to make the first move. Anyone who has lived through the seventies knows the perils of filling a bean bag.

‘I can’t even get the stupid zip open,’ said colleague one.

‘You need to thread a paper clip through the hook, they leave the puller thing off so kids can’t open the bag,’ I replied.

‘You seem to know a lot about this,’ said colleague two, as they both tuned to look at me.

A man appeared behind us, ‘AHHAHA!’ He cried, ‘beanbags! My brother used to work in a factory where they made those beans – and other products like them. The day he left, they filled his car with them as a joke. He never got them all out.’

‘Yes,’ agreed another, ‘we had an outside beanbag on the terrace in the back yard. The dog ripped a hole in it one afternoon. One gust of wind later and there were beans everywhere.’

‘Don’t you have a pool?’ I asked.

‘Yeah,’ he shuddered at the memory, ‘we had to sell the house in the end. Seemed easier.’

So this is how I found myself in my bathroom about an hour ago with the beanbag shell and two bags of beans. I had laid a towel in the bottom of the bath and placed the shell on top of it. Then I carefully cut one corner of the first bag and fed it into the hole in the bottom of the casing.

But total diameter of the bag is only just a bit smaller than the hole into which it needed to slide, so I ended up trying to hold the plastic pillow of beans, which was moving as I did, while trying to pull the sides of the opening up the walls of the bag to prevent the beans going everywhere.

I was quite successful. A few beans started leaping away from their intended destination, so I bent my knees and fell into an unattractive squat position while hugging the every decreasing pillow of filler. I reckon I only lost around fifty, which is pretty good going, although I have no idea where the beans went. They have a weird kinetic energy, so they fall and then seen to be able to roll for miles. They bounce away from each other then then swirl together like Mercury.

After about fifteen minutes of undignified wrestling, I had emptied bag one. Now it was time for bag two. I thought back to our reluctant group in the office.

‘The worse bit,’ someone had helpfully said, ‘Is the second bag, because it is already half full have so you are trying to stop the beans already in escaping, while filling it up further.’

‘Right,’ I though, ‘Cover both exits,’ and fed the filler bag through the zipper opening.

Immediately one side of the bean bag slid away allowing handfuls of beans to pop up and out through the gap in a mini eruption, like a 3D representation of gastric reflux. I stopped moving completely and managed after what seemed like ages to get the bag completely in the hole again and slowly, slowly the beans dripped through from one bag into the other, slowing towards the end as the beanbag filled up, but getting there finally.

After only a further half hour trying to sweep up the escapees, I emerged triumphant from the bathroom. My husband asked what I had been doing and I related the sorry saga.

‘Oh that is easy to do,’ he said, ‘you just put the bag in the top and slit the bottom right across.’

Hmm, well I am glad he is such an expert, because what I know and he does not, is that there are two more of these coming home this weekend and I now have just the man for the job.

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