Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Affront door, part 1, eight Sitex men

Eight men turn up on our doorstep at 11.30am.

More precisely, there are eight sets of feet wearing muddied workmen boots, spouting eight sets of gruff caveman voices that talk over each other. Thanks to the Sitex security door that is our front door staying closed, we don't get a chance to see their faces. But also thanks to the Sitex security door, this is why they are here.

They work for the firm that is steadily encasing the entire housing estate in Sitex sheeting -- and our front door has astonished them. Astonished them, because they believe that we have STOLEN this Sitex door in order to use it as a front door! They can't quite understand how this door can even exist on the estate (uh, guys, you put the door here in the first place) because all of the other empty properties are boarded up with stainless steel meshes.

Their amnesia is accusing us of thievery.

Their disbelief stutters the following :

"How did they get this door?"
"They must've found it from a scrap market and put it here."
"Nah, maybe the door was always here."
"Not sure about that."
"Hey lookit that -- they've put a new lock on it!"
"Really? Where?"
"See here."
"Fucking hell!" x8
"You're right -- they must have broken in and put their own lock on."
"That'll be right."
"That's criminal damage that is."
"It fucking is!" x8
"We can charge them for that."
"Yeah, let's do 'em for that."
"Oi, is anyone in there??"

New housemate Rhoderocker (who arrived only 20 minutes ago) is immediately put to work, acting as the voice behind our side of the door, whilst on the other side pound the eight men almost in unison. They want their door back, they grunt. Section 6 means nothing to them, whilst their door means plenty. They will charge us for criminal damage because we have changed the locks.

And they want to take the door RIGHT NOW! and have the tools to do so. They don't care that this is our home, we're illegal they say, and the Legal Warning on our door is just a meaningless bit of paper they'll hand back once the door is gone.

"It's flat 22 and they have our Sitex door and won't return it", they complain together on a walkie talkie.

Diagram Drawing Electrician drops his life and dashes over during my callout. USgal pours sweat all over as she attends her lectures ten miles away, stressing out that she can't physically be here. Everyone who can help us is on voicemail. Rhoderocker and me listen to their demands but refuse to open the door.

Eventually, this 40 minute altercation calms down. The group of eight slowly move away, saying they can come at anytime to remove the door and that they will, we can bet on it. By 12.30pm, the herd have moved off completely, leaving us to consider our options, including whether they are calling our bluff.

UPDATE: just before 1pm, we learn the herd have just boarded up flat no.8, a squat opened up by a couple of Ukrainian men who work during the daytime (and thus leave the place empty). That could've happened to us.