Saturday, 14 January 2012
It was not late, perhaps 7.30 or so, but it was dark and in general people do not call on me unannounced. So I put the chain on the door and opened it about 6 inches.
A young man carrying Sky ID stood there and started to explain why I should sign up to his company for phone, TV, and broadband.
I told him I was happy as I was and had no interest in changing and additionally, that I do not like cold -calling and prefer to talk to people in daylight.
He persuaded me that he was not trying to pressure me in any way, but said hew could offer me a better deal than I have with my current supplier. I asked h imm to come back the next afternoon, and he agreed to do so.
Just as, in a previous post I said I cannot be moved by TV ad's, so also, no-one can persuade me to buy anything I don't want, so I don't encourage salesmen.
When he left, I locked the door and thought, "am I being super-cautious, or am I afraid to open the door to someone after dark?"
On reflection I think a bit of both and only two days later, I read in the local paper of a man who opened his door to a caller one evening and was stabbed by two complete strangers. This was only half a mile from me and I hadn't even read the paper the evening I got my visitor.
When I was a child I was as my family put it "scared of my own shadow", but as I grew up became less and less wary. To the extent that, one evening after a late rehearsal in London, having missed the last train, I set out to walk home to Bromley, a distance of 10 miles!
Most of this walk was undertaken in the middle of the road, I didn't like the shadows at the sides, and I passed no-one for at least an hour and a half.
When I reached Catford, about 2 miles from home a police patrol car stopped and asked me if I was OK.
On being assured that I was and had (only) another two miles to walk, off they went!
I have to point out that this was in the late 1960's and even if I were capable of such a walk these days I wouldn't consider it for one second.
This is a very different world from the one I grew up in.
After John's death, any trace of nervousness at being in the house alone vanished. I suppose I felt that the worst had already happened, and that nothing worse could befall me, however, recently I have found myself checking doors and windows in a way never previously thought necessary, and the chain on the door action was the end result of this change of habit.
Of course I'm not a complete idiot and would not take unnecessary risks but when does caution become fear and where should we draw the line?
I'd be interested to know how other people feel, perhaps particularly those who live alone?