Day 18

Wednesday, 14 January, 2009

It was inevitable that something would happen when I was on my own here in the apartment…and it did. It came in the form of, all things, the water delivery man.

Colin’s office had set up a water delivery service a month ago…they arrived 2x and Colin paid 2x. So a couple of days ago, there was a knock at the door. I looked through the keyhole because I can’t reach the peep hole. Shut up — no short jokes, please! I saw an eye looking back at me through the keyhole…ok, icky.

Anyway, I opened the door…and this guy shoves this bill in my hand. I looked at him and he said, "water". Oh…ok, I can pay the water bill. I handed him a 500 rupee bill — the water delivery was 140 rupees. Ok, he didn’t have change, so he went to get some, leaving me with the 500 rupees.

I shut and locked the door, staring at the bill. *click click click* it all went in my head. Hm, didn’t we just pay for the water delivery on Monday? I looked at the water delivery bill from Monday. Oh…so the guy who wants payment now are the people who haven’t delivered the water in over 3 weeks, but they want payment for services not rendered. I decided to be passive aggressive and not answer the door when he came back. Bad idea.

The man started banging on the door and ringing the bell furiously. There I was, trapped in my own apartment, not able to do anything. I don’t know what the number is for emergency services…and it’s not like there is another way out of the apartment aside from climbing out a window…and we’re on the 2nd floor.

I finally answered the door and said, "No water, no rupees."

He said, "You pay."

I said, "No water, no rupees."

He said, "No speak English."

That’s fine. I pointed to myself and said, "No speak Hindi. No water, no rupees."

He got a funny look in his eye that told me that I wasn’t going to be safe if I didn’t comply. You know when you get that feeling in your gut…you just know it’s not going to be good? I paid him. Yes, I paid him…so he would go away.

But I pissed him off further when I gave him the 500 rupees and I said, "WAIT!" and I counted the money he gave back. Then I told him he could go. I had to make sure that fucker didn’t shortchange me.

I immediately locked the door and called Colin, who was raging. He went to go talk to the guy who set up the water delivery…and immediately the guy went, "Oh, I don’t understand English.", trying to get the girl at the desk next to his to translate.

Colin looked at him and said, "Don’t give me that crap."

Then he went to go find his boss and tell him what happened. His boss was pretty upset…and I think he called the water people.

I’m out 140 rupees (a little under $3), but I like to think it was small price to pay for whatever bodily harm may have come my way had I not complied. He used intimidation, I know. I can’t believe I caved in, either.

So yesterday there was another knock at the door…and I’m still a bit shaken after the previous day’s encounter…On our door there are two keyholes…one works, the other is super low to the ground. What did I do? I snuck around the corner and looked to see who was outside from the bottom keyhole. I didn’t answer because the person was male and I just didn’t trust myself after the other day.

Until I know what I can get away with, that is. Then it’s best if they keep an eye open for me should I decide to come back for my 140 rupees.

I’ll be honest — it really has shaken me a bit. I flat out refuse to answer the door at all now. Unless you’re calling me from the other side of the door and you’re either the cook or the owner of the apartment, I won’t open the door up for anyone.

I’ve always taken pride in not being a pushover, but this time…I don’t know…it made me doubt myself a little bit.


Day 23
Suitably Chastised

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