Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Polish Student

It’s not often that I’m alone in this house but tonight is one of those nights. Bert is away on one of his camping trips with a bunch of social worker types from West Belfast. They drink whiskey, smoke grass, make camp fires, howl at the moon then sleep under the stars. Social work can send a man a bit crazy.

I got home from work at four and took the dogs out for a brisk two-mile walk. The dogs always did brisk but it’s a new development for me. Then I shopped (mostly fruit and vegetables) and came back here and made myself a proper meal. Yay for me. Since then I’ve been moseying around sorting out, throwing out and packing for the big move. I like being on my own.

Then just after eight the door knocked. I was upstairs sorting stuff and stomped down feeling a bit pissed that my peace was to be interrupted. There on the doorstep stood a perfect stranger with a rucksack on his back. He appeared to be on foot as there was no vehicle in sight. He was a young man in his early to mid twenties. He greeted me in stilted English and handed me a little homemade card. The card stated that he was a Polish student; here to learn English and he needed money to help him pursue his studies. Straightaway I said sorry, I couldn’t help him and he said something polite that ended in Madam and turned and walked away. He looked very dignified.

Why didn’t I help him? Maybe give him just a few quid? I was worried that he was a con artist. I was very worried because I was on my own and there are no houses nearby and because it was dark. My only consolation was that the dogs danced around him barking their heads off. I did not discourage them from doing so though he seemed unafraid of them. Did I distrust him because he was foreign, didn’t speak English? I don’t know. I’m worried now that he was in some kind of difficulty and I didn’t help. I feel a bit sorry for him. Not that my sympathy will do him much good if he was genuine.

I still don’t think it’s my job to give him money to pursue his education. Maybe if he’d come to the door and said he was starving I would have helped. What was he doing up our lane in the middle of the country anyway? I wish Bert were here.


Anonymous said...

Nelly, people like the polish student does us aliens no favours! I would have done like you!

Ronni said...

I would have run him off, too! Here in Texas, we take a very dim view of such people. I'd be locking my door tonight, as well!

Nelly said...

I'd be surprised if it was his intention but his visit did leave me very uneasy. For all kinds of reasons.

Anonymous said...

I can understand people doing that in town, or whatever, but I think I'd be a tad wary of anyone knocking on a door in the middle of nowhere.

'Course, it could just be that he was wary of the attitude of some of our townfolk.

Nelly said...

I'd thought that too - that he might have felt safer in the country. But unfortunately as I was on my own I had to put my safety first. Perhaps if Bert had been here we might have elicited more info from him and maybe helped him if he was in diffs - but me on my own? Not a good idea.

Anonymous said...

On Friday I gave a lift to a Polish student on the Isle of Skye - she'd missed the bus and was obviously nervous about hitching - so I was glad Matty and I had picked her up although thinking about it she must have remained nervous seeing as it was me driving.

Too weird someone coming to the door at that time of night in the middle of the country.


Anonymous said...

yeah - that was def. weird. I would have done the same thing and surely he must have known its a little odd roaming the country at night. and why would he be collecting money for his education at night time. I decided recently after a long laborious think that I feel safer in the city. Although its a little scary here at times it always feels like somebody's around. When I go home to Dunnygarron road its so dark I can't see whats beyond the window and it freajs me out! best to have devil dogs I think.
Mel.x x x

Nelly said...

Funnys enough I like it very dark. Our spark fitted us with this halogen yard light at the new house that is mega-bright. Lights up the night like day. We'll be disconnecting it roaming, sharp-toothed Polish Students or no. You've just become citified Mel. By the way much thanks for the pressies.

Anonymous said...

your right - i probably have become a little citified. at 6am this morn i was shouting obscenities at a group of freshers who were attempting topick up their freind who apparently weighted 22 stones. grrrr - the joys of living in the city! you wouldn't get that in cully!

Yuor welcome for the pressies - i fell in love with the jug when i saw it and knwe you would like it too. its kinda quirky - just like its owners!

Mel x x xx

Nelly said...

From One Quirky to another - it takes one to know one ;)