Wednesday morning the meter man came.
I was in work and he had to call me to get the keys. We're very security-conscious: we even lock up our meters. He was an unusually cheerful meter man and as I hovered while he read the electric meter he exclaimed, from inside the understairs cupboard, 'Would you look at this?'
I assumed it was rhetorical but he stuck his head out and said, 'Have you seen this meter?'
I had, several times, but his voice suggested something amazing had happened to it. Maybe its position as a church meter had led to it taking on the shape of the Virgin Mary. Perhaps we would be the next place to have a simulacrum that would feature in tabloid newspapers and and dodgy internet sites.
I squeezed in behind him.
I was disappointed: it looked exactly the same as ever.
'Do you know how to read this?' he said.
He shook his head. 'They don't teach you this when you become a meter man. You have to work it out for yourself.'
I was pleased it made his day.
I was slightly less pleased later on when he came back.
He asked if he could use the toilet. 'There's nowhere round here and I saw your car was here.'
Which was fine except you can't see the car park from the road and I was alone in the building. 'Don't be stupid,' I said to myself as I let him in. He's a nice man. He's not going to hurt you.'
My inner voice argued, 'They're probably all nice men. To begin with ...'
I waited in the kitchen for him and I spotted the phone. I dithered for a moment then I called Husband. 'Hello,' he said.
'Talk to me for a bit,' I said.
'Why? Who are you trying to avoid?' (He knows me so well.)
'I'll explain in a minute.'
Meter man left and I locked the door behind him. Was I being paranoid? Or aware?
I'm sure he was just a nice friendly man.