He started off with a random act of neighbourliness, a small gesture which clearly put me at ease and established him as a decent enough fellow.
And then, despite later discovering that there was a warning notice up at our local mini-mart and a number of items recently published in the local rag (which I never read), I fell for his routine like the famed fishie, and let him into our house which he left, 5 minutes later, with a cell phone. Not his own.
It seems he even used one of his standard stories, about needing to clear branches from the phone line behind our house. A brilliant tactic in the light of how harden we are towards tales of hard-times and hungry children, I never fall for those anymore but someone offering to make my life easier? Yes please.
He was personable, nice, pleasant to the kids. He spoke very fast, which rang a distant warning bell, but my charitable brain thought he was just a considerate guy not wanting to inconvenience his neighbours more than necessary.
When I reported the incident to the police I was told my report was one of three in our area this weekend - all sounding like the same guy. At least I'm not the only dumb-ass on the block, I'm in illustrious company with the chairperson of the Neighbourhood Watch no less. Now that's embarrassing!
School fees my husband calls it. The price paid for lessons learned. Sadly the lesson in this case is to be more suspicious, even of nice people.
It goes against my grain and I hate that it's a reality in my life.
Other realities of the weekend:
'Cos misery apparently does love company we also had no hot water for 48 hours - bust geyser - and Stella popped 2 molars - no sleep for me.
But, because the world, and Observatory, is a place of eternal dichotomy, I was again reminded of how comforting it is to live in a community. I walked round to a friend's for a blissfully long soak in her bathtub at midday and lay there listening to the hum of her sewing machine. Later I walked the girls down to my brother's house to bath them. Every (legit) neighbour and friend we encountered was sympathetic and displayed that curious bent for humour we South Africans have developed for times such as these.
It's a funny old world.
And. The weather has been wonderful, I'm in flip-flops at 9pm, we had Cesar Salad for dinner, husband realised a dream purchasing a 1976 Honda cafe racer, we finally got a new ironing board, there's a week of fun ahead. Silver linings hey, gotta keep your eye on them.