Sunday afternoon is the quietest part of my week. The hours between 1pm and 6pm on every Sunday can easily be translated as "me time". I try and do nothing that requires exertion. Okay, I will admit I occasionally wash our vehicles in the early evening. My weekly ritual though has been punctuated by a dynamic that now finds itself integrated with "me time"... A regular knock on the door or the acoustic ring of our doorbell by persons unknown to me. Many would call them beggars. And they appear like clockwork every week.
Every time, I am the unfortunate one that answers the call-at-the-door. Let it be known that the rest of the family flee the lounge and instruct me to answer the door as they go through the sound barrier to various parts of the rest of our home. So I do the descent thing and ask our uninvited visitors what they want. And that starts a monologue similar in style to call centre agents trying to sell you a prepaid, low end cell phone contract, even when you told them 20 minutes earlier that you have a contract phone. You cannot get a word in as they take you on a journey through their lives that have so many twists and turns that you never sure how they managed to get to your door given the level of drama and persecution they've endured.
When they eventually surface-to-breathe and you get to repeat your initial question, it is either an opportunity to do something for you in exchange for money, or for spare change or some food for the children waiting at home or taxi fare to get to the local hospital's casualty ward (I'm always bemused at the "casualty ward" indicator as they never appear mortally wounded). And then you get "the look"...a stare that is meant to serve as a portal for you to enter and get to see their genuine self. No further words get spoken. At this point I get to face a recurring dilemma each time...is this fact or fiction? And is their a divine hand that can show me which way to lean? But like the blank stare, no such flash enters the immediate environment. I always ask them to wait a few minutes, close the door and consult the family (who fled the scene) on what to do. And I get to hear I'm a sucker for drama and to tell our visitors to leave. And I do this, after giving them some money or food or both.
My Sunday afternoon then returns to normal until the next Sunday arrives. I'm posting this blog on Saturday evening. I'm hoping the pattern will not repeat itself tomorrow.
Secretly, on some weird level, I'm looking forward to the next visitor and listening to their life episode. But I too worry that many of my visitors may actually be begging as a form of work or act, that they may not have experienced any of the hardships they have scripted so well and that they live above the poverty line. But then again, they may not be fibbing. How does one really know? I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt...how about you?