[After ten minutes of knocking and waiting, Mrs Gribbins eventually comes to the door. She’s wearing a quilted blue housecoat, a red scarf round her head, her arm in a collar-and-cuff support. Her face is the same colour as her scarf.]
MrsG: What the hell do you want?
ME: Hello, Mrs Gribbins. I’m sorry to disturb you.
MrsG: No, you’re not
ME: I did ring to say I was coming, but it went to answer machine.
MrsG: You should give me longer to get to the phone. I can’t run about like you.
ME: No. Well – I’m sorry about that.
MrsG: Don’t you know it’s Sunday?
ME: Yep. But I’ve been asked to come and see you to make sure you’re okay. And unfortunately you were first on my list.
[She stares at me]
Specifically – they want me to look at the wound on your arm.
MrsG: How am I supposed to get better if you people keep bothering me?
ME: Well that’s just it, you see? The doctor’s asked us to visit and see you’re okay.
MrsG: What doctor?
ME: [hesitantly] I’ve got it written down somewhere…
MrsG: You don’t know, do you? You come round here, dragging me out into the cold all hours of the day and night. How’m I supposed to get better with you carrying on like that?
ME: I was told your dressing needed changing.
MrsG: By this doctor, I suppose? This mystery doctor no-one’s heard of?
ME: I’ve definitely got it written down somewhere. But it’s fine, Mrs Gribbins. Honestly. If you really don’t want anyone coming round, you don’t have to.
MrsG: It’s ridiculous. You can see I’m alright.
ME: Well actually – I can’t. Not from here.
MrsG: I’ve never been treated like this before. Not ever.
ME: I’m sorry you feel like that. It’s all with the best of intentions. The fact is people are worried about you and want to make sure you’re okay. But like I say – you’re perfectly entitled to say no thanks, and we’ll leave it at that.
MrsG: And you won’t knock on my door again?
ME: No. I’ll just refer you back to the care of your doctor. The doctor I’ve got written down somewhere.
MrsG: [warily, like she doesn’t quite believe it] I don’t mean to be rude.
ME: It’s okay. Don’t worry. Let’s just shake – by your good hand – and we’ll say no more about it.
MrsG: I need time to get better.
ME: Absolutely. Bye, then, Mrs Gribbins.
MrsG: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I never see you again.
ME: Have a nice day.
MrsG: A nice day? [She gives the shoulder of her bad arm a tentative shrug] It’s a bit late for that.