Answering the door: Middle-class problems

Number 81
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The Independent Online

It is 10pm. A shadow approaches No 23. Cue knocking; the camera cuts to the hall and a man and woman in dressing gowns…

"Who is it?"

"Not sure."

"Are you going to answer it?"

"Probably have to, given I'm stood half-an-inch away while stage-whispering back to you. They're bound to have been listening in. What else would they be doing out there?"

"Put the chain across before you open it."

"It might seem like I'm being overly defensive. I don't want to offend them."

"Don't, then. But what if it's someone who tries to break in? Ask who it is before you open it."

"Why would they tell me the truth if they were going to burgle us? I genuinely don't know what to do now."

"Just open the door."

The door is opened. There is no one to be seen outside, neither straight ahead, nor to the left, nor right.

"There's no one there."

"What?"

"There's no one there. They must have got fed up and left. Can't blame them, I suppose."

Exeunt omnes, for pre-bed cocoa.

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Notes for group discussion

1. Could it have been a friend? Wouldn't they have called first?

2. If it was someone collecting for charity, how would you have palmed them off?

3. If it was a religious type, would you have asked: why so late, chum?

4. If it was someone selling meal deliveries, could you be polite to them for interrupting CSI?

5. Are you now more in favour of video-entry systems/concierges?

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