September 18, 2007

How Roodepoort came to Paris this morning

Well, imagine my surprise when this morning I sit quietly composing my first weather bulletin for France 24( and my mobile phone rings with an SA number appearing on the (tiny - mine's not an iPhone) screen. I answer, only to hear I am speaking to a Constable Whatnot from the Roodepoort Police Station. That's like being catapulted to another planet - no, another solar system from where I'm sitting in a leafy, wealthy Parisian suburb, contemplating the weather in the Middle East.

I'm convinced it's a crank call, but willing to go along with it. He asks if I am my father's daughter and I confirm that I am. He asks me to confirm that my parents are divorced and I'm starting to get jumpy. My mind's racing at what the possible implications of this could be and whom I might get into trouble by admitting that my parents are, in fact, divorced. So I pretend I can't hear him so well... he repeats his statement/question and so I hesitatingly agree. So he very kindly asks if he can interview me about my father, being my father's daughter. Now I can't cope with the tension anymore, so I say,

I'm sorry, who is this?

Constable Whatnot from Roodepoort Police Station, remember? I told that I went to see your father on Saturday to inspect his arms safe.

Oh. Okay. Well, maybe this is not a crank call, but it certainly is a weird one. After giving him my ID number - dunno HOW I remembered it and I dunno if I'm a woman ending with 083 or a man ending with 084 or what?? Anyway, the kindly constable doesn't say anything either way - the interview begins:

What sort of a person is your fatha?

Me: (having to BITE MY TONGUE to not say 'a very nice one'!)
Uhhhh.... he's a very hard worker.

I hear a pen scratching (well, not really) and the dear constable repeats my words, but in his own adorable accent.

...a hard wekka. Is he responsible?

Oh yes, very!

Would you say he is violent?

No, not at all! He loves animals!!
(as if that explains anything at all.)

Scratching of the pen again (not really):
...loves animals. Ok, that's fine.

And we go on to the details of my address, mobile phone number, non-existent work number, say goodbye - and it's over.

I'm still sitting there, heart beating in my mouth. How fantastically odd to speak to someone in a blue uniform in a small, ill-furnished polisie stasie in Roodepoort,Gauteng while contemplating Australia's weather in a leafy, wealthy suburb in Paris, France. Worlds collide and I am homesick...


Spencer Eggworth said...

This happened to me too. A friend of mine went to renew his gun license and the Po-lees man called me for a reference as my mate had given him my name. I hate guns and I lied and told the cop that my friend was partial to outbreaks of road-rage. They did not renew his license. He eventually sorted it out by getting another reference

He didnt speak to me for a while after that.

Hollywoodgal said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown. A better man than me at any rate...

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