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(www.france24.com) 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:

Constable:
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.

Constable:
...a hard wekka. Is he responsible?


Me:
Oh yes, very!


Constable:
Would you say he is violent?


Me:
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...

3 comments:

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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