Some of you are probably aware I have been working on the census and not my writing. This isn't by choice. My husband and I found our business impacted by the economy and we needed the extra income.
I began the job with some preconceived notions, most of which were wrong. First, I just knew that the poorer sections of town, the ones plagued with the most crime, posed the most danger to me personally. I entered these areas with great trepidation, constantly on the lookout for dangerous situations, ready to flee at any given moment. The truth was, people in these areas were kind and courteous to me. They were welcoming and almost always offered me a seat and a cool drink.
My next assignment was in a more affluent area. I gave a big sigh of relief as I drove to the much posher neighborhood. This feeling of well-being lasted until the third house, where I was met by a man in his bathrobe who was carrying a gun as he walked on to his deck to ward me off. You would have been amazed at how quickly I scampered back to my car. In this same area I met a couple of homemakers who could easily qualify for the nomination of witch of the year. One took great pleasure in asking me to come back 4 times, only to be too busy each time to answer four minutes of questions. The other was rude and ill-tempered for no good reason that I could see. Finally, there was the house with three cars parked out front. I both rang the bell and knocked on the door because I couldn't be sure that my knock could be heard over the blaring noise of the television or stereo coming from within. After the second round of knocking on the door, a hand cautiously pulled aside the blind. Thinking I looked pretty harmless, I waited for the door to open. Much to my surprise a voice from within informed me that no one was home.
So, what have I learned from these experiences? Money doesn't buy good manners. An upscale neighborhood doesn't guaranty personal safety. And, there are crackpots who live in the good neighborhoods as well as on the other side of the tracks.