The mystery from yesterday is solved - if you didn't read it and you don't want to now (it WAS kind of long) basically I was trying to establish if a woman who asked me to give her money was genuine or not. Were her family really starving or was she just a scammer? And now I have the answer.
My very sensible and lovely housemates asked around and discovered that this is not the first time the woman has done this - apparently she has a problem with gambling. So, although she was not being entirely honest with me, she is obviously not just a scammer for the sake of it. Addiction to gambling is as serious as alcoholism or drug addiction and it's a very difficult thing to overcome.
Unfortunately, like all addictions, it changes the behaviour of the person and they find themselves doing and saying things they never dreamt they would do or say. It's desperation and they can't help themselves. How do I know all this? Because I am a very knowledgeable person with an incredibly high emotional intelligence quotient lol.
You thought I was about to confess to being a compulsive gambler there didn't you? Not at all. I lived for 16 years with a gambler - not in any way a compulsive one, in fact a very successful one - and although his life's work has been dedicated to horseracing he would occasionally persuade me to go to the casino in Glasgow.
There I discovered I would be unlikely to develop a gambling problem because as soon as I lost even just five pounds, I'd be bored and want to go home. I'd watch all these (mainly) rich folk staring obsessively at the roulette wheel willing the thingummyjig to land on their number and I'd think "who cares?". The only thing I liked about the casino was that if you stayed till 4am they gave you breakfast - free!
My Auntie Maggie in Greenock LOVES the bingo - she must do as she's upped her weekly visits from 5 to 6 recently! She was dying for me to go with her so on her birthday I did just that. They wouldn't let me in till I joined so I'm now a member of the Mecca Bingo Clubs! Anyway, I went and quite honestly, I just didn't get it. I mean, I GOT it, I knew how to play it - what I couldn't figure out was why anyone would want to and how they managed to stay awake during it. And I can say that safe in the knowledge that Aunt M, lovely as she is, will never read my blog cos she'll be too busy listening out for clickety clicks!
The only time I've enjoyed bingo was when I accompanied Aileen Campbell, who I worked for at the time, as she held a surgery in a bingo hall (she is a member of the Scottish Parly). I had arranged for her to call the bingo too which was the source of great amusement for me until the manager announced that I was going to do it too!! Actually it was great fun - particularly the heckling when I got it wrong!
Anyway I'm way off the point here. The point is that people with addictions deserve our sympathy. We have to understand that the scamming is a symptom of their condition. However, we don't have to accept the behaviour, nor do we have to fund the addiction and I'm not going to. I am saddened to discover that she was not all she seemed and although I will be more careful in future, it won't colour my view of Sri Lankans who, on the whole, are lovely friendly people.
And if I do bump into her again, I'm going to ask her if I can tell her something in complete confidence - and then I'll tell her I can't help her because I'm a gambling addict, it all started down the Mecca Bingo in Greenock and now, I have no money left. Might even see if she'll lend me some. You see, I know how to get rid of people when I have to!!