In a grumpy bid for privacy, I went op-shopping today for curtains.
I live within rolling distance of a river which is a regular fishing and swimming spot for some of the landlord’s whanau. It’s summer Down Under, so school is out, which means they visit regularly, which means I sacrifice some privacy.
The op-shop visit wasn’t successful. I never learned the finer points of drapery, and it’s not something on my to-do list. So despite the assistant’s kind efforts, I was quickly befuddled by the few options presented.
I come home to find someone opening the gate to the long driveway ahead of me. There are visitors to my backyard.
I dive inside to the welcome shelter of the shade in my small whare, and draw the curtains, muttering, for some privacy. As on the internet, so in your own house, no-one knows you’re a dog.
It’s not to be. Soon after, a familiar car pulls up right outside my ranch slider. Which is also my ‘back door’ and looks directly into the kitchen of my two-room bach. I’m practising, but tolerance isn’t one of my virtues. If I’d been pushed a lot further I might have attempted a stern but polite objection to the intrusion.
In this case, that would’ve been the worst possible reaction.
Because out jumped a tanned kid, grinning, with a half-live schnapper still gulping at the air. “Here you go – we just caught it!”, he says. I’m not going to try to explain the delights of eating freshly-caught fish, because you either know or you don’t.
Now, if I’d followed my first instincts – assuming the worst , and acting on that – it obviously would have ruined the spirit and goodwill of the gesture.
From my purely selfish point of view, no more gifts of fresh fish. From theirs, a waste of some goodwill.
Sometimes first instincts are wrong.