Knock at Your Own Risk

I've been weirdly sick in the last couple of weeks. Weird in that at different turns, my symptoms have included: Frequent burping, sounding like a tranny, choking / gagging and a feeling like my brain was bursting out my skull. There were plenty more of the usual - aches, pains, coughs - but those little extras added a little extra whump to this particular butt-kicker. I'm still not 100%.

Which might explain the fight I had at my front door.

FrontDoorSignWe in my house are not tolerant of uninvited ding-dongers. I hate dealing with door-to-door types, and find Bible thumpers especially heinous. I grew so sick of the constant hassles, the pitbull evangelists, the candy hawking homeless, the magazine subscription shillers, that in a curmudgeonly moment, I had this shiny plaque installed at our front door. It reads:


I've been pretty happy with my sign. The only thing I'd change? Ditch the "please."

Needless to say, when my doorbell rang last week, awaking me, ill and shaking, from a fragile slumber I'd fought tooth and nail to procure - hiring babysitters, canceling meetings, forgoing money - in order to repair my sad state of health, you might imagine my irritation.

Then, to peek out my porthole and see a couple of middle-aged Mutt-and-Jeff style idiots, clipboards tucked into their elbow-crooks, gawping at my sign, pointing and laughing? They were lucky I don't have laser beam eyes, because they would be dead men.

Aching and in pain, I whip open the front door, and squint out into the sun and their grinning faces with my bloodshot glare.

"What could be so important that you guys would ignore my sign, ring my bell and wake me up when I'm sick?" I ask quietly, my torn-up voice croaking.

The littler one has the grace to drop the used car salesman grin, and take a step back. His buddy isn't as sharp. 

"Well, ma'am, we never saw your sign," he lies effortlessly, eyes darting to the plaque, "and my trainee and I here are with Painters R Us. We're painting one of your neighbor's houses on this street and saw" - here he pauses, to take a step back, and pointedly look at the front of my house - "that you could use our services," he takes a breath, winding up so he can really get rolling.

I interrupt before he can continue.

"Excuse me? .... You. Have. GOT. To. Be. Kidding," I say slowly, ignoring Mr. Macho and turning instead to his protogee. "So let's get this straight. He's training you to ignore people's no soliciting signs, outright lie about not seeing them, lie about painting a neighbor's house, not even apologize for waking someone up - all so you can can try to sell your services? Really? How well do you think that's going to go over? Let's save us all the time and trouble. No, thank you."

And with that, I start to close the door. But now, Mr. Macho is pissed off.

"Your house looks like shit," he sputters angrily, "do your neighbors a favor and start taking care of your property."

I open the door a little wider, and let him stew in his own bile for a few seconds.

"I guess that was your sales pitch? Actually," I say calmly, sliding some paint samples from the table next to me over so they can both see them, "I'm getting ready to paint my house. Thanks for saving me the trouble of asking your company for a quote." 

Then, I quietly close the door in their faces.

It's strange to think that if he'd been just a little kinder, if he'd shown the slightest bit of sympathy or remorse, or even good manners, I might have taken his card, despite his ignoring my sign.  I start to get my scruff up about it, then have a laugh, instead. Or a croak, in this case.

On the one hand, here I am desperately wanting peace from the salesmen of the world - while on the other, I make my living by helping people to be better at it.

Gotta love the irony.







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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >