Friday, 8 April 2016

Cold calling

     An unwelcome reminder of normal life arrived last night. Announcing itself with a RAT A TAT TAT on my double locked front door, with security chain on. My immediate thought was that it must be a neighbour – perhaps they’d taken in some post for me, or wanted to ask if I’d seen their cat. You can only gain access to our floor via key fob, or entryphone to the home you wish to visit, which is just a handful of us, and I knew I wasn't expecting anyone.

     So it was something of a shock to open the front door and be faced with a strange man I didn’t recognise, towering over me and launching into a long spiel about how I ought to give money to the Marie Curie charity. I listened to him for a few good minutes until he paused to draw breath and managed to inform him that actually, for me, that is quite a lot of money, thank you, good luck, hope other people can help, good night.

     I was annoyed, I had a bit of a chunter about it on twitter, I went to bed, I woke up this morning feeling fine.

     And then I got coldcalled. By someone on twitter. Someone who doesn’t follow me, nor anyone I follow. Someone who, now I look at their other tweets, clearly searched out a few people annoyed by cold callers, chuggers, charity door knockers, and decided to challenge them. And I was taken to task for not appreciating the social interaction of a complete stranger turning up on my doorstep at half past eight in the evening to ask me for money. Because I should appreciate my life being intruded into. I should value my time being taken up with someone suggesting that £30 a month ‘isn’t a lot of money’ (Mate, listen. I’m a single mother, on benefits, renting a council maisonette, and I haven’t received a penny in child maintenance since October. £30 is more than I spend on food in a week for three of us).

     And this person on twitter seemed to think that I was the one with a problem (yes, I know, but shush). That cold callers and their like should be welcomed, engaged with. This person didn’t seem to grasp that actually, it can be quite distressing to be forced to engage with someone. And to prove that, they just kept going. On and on and fucking on at me. They didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that actually, I’d had enough of the conversation now, I’m starting to get upset, and part of that upset was caused by the dawning realisation that I’m not as secure in my home as I thought I was, and last night, I could have opened the door to someone who could have inflicted pretty serious fucking damage on me and The Blondies, without me even thinking about it. It also hasn’t helped that I realised last night that a murder I thought had happened over there, actually happened… just here. A house I pass every time I go in or out. Focuses the mind, that sort of detail.

     In the end, to get rid of my cold tweeter, I had to reveal stuff I normally wouldn’t, especially not to a stranger. I had to do it, because I realised I was getting more and more upset, and I wasn’t coping. And not long after I sent that tweet, I did something I never wanted to have to do again – I protected my account. And I’ve spent most of today in tears. Quiet, hand over mouth, silent tears, angrily swiping away at my cheeks so that The Blondies won’t see.

     Because I hate this. I fucking hate this. I hate feeling like this. I hate being reminded of how vulnerable I am, how insignificant I am, how people see me. I don’t need fucking protecting; I’m not some droopy little flower, waiting in her tower to be rescued. Fuck that shit, frankly. But I hate being reminded that I am not in control.

     I am not in control of who knocks on my door. I was not in control of who replies to my tweets. I am now, obviously.

    Cold tweeters, kindly fucking do one. I am, until such time as this horrible feeling has passed, ex-directory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd very politely make a complaint to Marie Curie and suggest they re-think their canvassing for financial support. A lesson learnt. Is there no spy hole in your front door? Going ex-directory doesn't always work. Computer checks numbers at random, if you answer then it registers that the number is 'live'. If there's a human on end of cold calling telephone line have fun. At the end of the day they are only doing a job. I often engage them in conversation saying I'm a lonely widow with no family. They are the only person I've spoken to in many days. I then ask personal questions - how long they've been doing the job, do they enjoy it, are they married, etc. I usually gain their sympathy and they end the conversation telling me to look after myself. If the cold caller is persistent, or you don't want to be bothered, say you are just a visitor and you will go and get the householder. Put a cushion over the telephone and walk away, carry on with what you are doing. When you return several minutes later you will find the phone has gone dead. Don't be intimidated, or frightened, or angry. Have fun. (((CW)))