A man I don’t know scared me.
That’s what this post is about. That’s it in a nutshell.
And when I say “scared me” what I mean is that I thought I was possibly about to get raped.
Three weeks ago, I was home alone on a Saturday afternoon. My husband was out, my five-year-old was playing at a neighbour’s house and my two little boys were asleep having their daytime naps. I was standing in the lounge room sorting washing when I heard the click of our front garden gate. Then I heard someone knocking on the laundry door downstairs. Our dog started barking madly so I locked him in the bedroom.
I wasn’t worried at this point. I thought perhaps it was Anne who lived next door.
“Hellooooo?” I called out, walking outside onto the veranda.
I could hear footsteps beneath the floorboards. Delivery drivers and couriers had a habit for dropping any packages or parcels underneath the veranda. At this point I wasn’t worried.
“Hello?” I called again, a little louder.
That’s when he appeared. All scruffy beard and laconic grin.
He was 20-something. Holding a clipboard.
I winced. He had one of those random electricity company logo shirts on.
“Oh there you are,” he smiled up at me, as I stood above him.
Internally, I rolled me eyes. I’d seen ACA enough times to know I was about to be asked to sign up to some energy plan from a company I’d never heard of with a shitty discount rate.
But before I could get a word out, the spiel had begun.
“I’m just here to ask if you’d like to save money…”
I cut him off. And in truth, I was probably a little terse.
“Look, honestly, I’m not interested. We’re happy with our current plan.”
I took a step backwards – the universal sign of “See, I’m going back inside my house now. Off you go.”
Except he didn’t go. He took a step forward.
“Are you collecting firewood?” he asked.
What? He was motioning his head towards a pile of tree pods on the lawn that my husband had collected. He took another step towards me.
“This is a great garden.”
“Mate, I’m not interested.” I was shaking my head at him.
He took another two steps – this time coming up the stairs to where I was.
“What’s that interesting smell downstairs?”
WHAT? He means the citronella candle thingy Anne had burning next door.
“No, no, no – mate. I’ve got kids asleep. I’m busy. I’m not interested.”
Now he looked pissed off.
“I just want to chat to you…” His tone had changed.
And so had mine. Now I was worried.
“Listen, I’m not interested.” Even I could tell my voice sounded panicky.