Saturday, May 7, 2011
I pity the fool that rings my doorbell after 8 p.m.
Besides making monkeys, I have been working all spring on one art piece. It is a "No Soliciting" sign to hang by my front door. It's not that I don't want solicitors. I love it when the Girl Scouts come by and sell their cookies and we do support the neighborhood schools but sometimes "strangers" come by and ring our bell. It is usually around 8:00 o'clock at night and we are right in the middle of a movie or Law and Order reruns. When that doorbell rings it disrupts our evening routine. First, we look at each other with the "Are you expecting company?" gaze. Second, whom ever has the remote pauses the show. We pause too, and kind of wait out each other to see who will get up and answer the door. Sometimes I do but more often Frank does because he is the quickest at getting rid of solicitors. We always have the same discussion after the interruption. "Who was it?, What were they selling?, What in the hell are those mother fuckers doing out at this time of night in our neighborhood?" It takes us a while to settle down and get back to our previous zen.
I have an uncontrollable curiosity when it comes to the doorbell. I can't ignore it. I'm not sure who I am expecting, but am usually disappointed.
Since the weather has been so nice, I have already had two surprise afternoon visitors. One, a young man helping the past, present, and future drug addicts of America and the other a beggar for the homeless shelter. I only had $2.00 in my purse for the drug addicts but scrounged up $10.00 for the homeless after my dog jumped on him and nearly knocked him down. I was God blessed by both but not thanked.
During the summer we often get those solicitors that have the memorized canned speech and the "notebook". I would rather have a visit from the Jehovah's Witnesses than be visited by one of "them" because if I answer the door, they are guaranteed to get a donation and their water bottle refilled or a soft drink.
A few visits from these notebook holders come to mind:
A black man that looked to be older than me stopped by one hot summer day with his notebook. He gave me his little speech then we looked through his notebook together. I listened and nodded in all the right places. He had the special permits and articles about I don't remember what, a few pictures of himself with his sponsors, and other things in his notebook. When I offered him a seat on the porch and an icy cold 7 up he was delighted. While he sipped his drink he told me about his life. He went on about his past and how he had just messed up his life with drugs and alcohol. He had a promising future playing baseball but he foiled that future with sin. His relationship with his wife and four children went sour. I forget the details but somehow he pulled himself out of that hole he dug for himself and turned his life around. He would be attending Grand Canyon University this fall and trying out for the baseball team! I was so inspired by his story that I rushed in the house to get my wallet. I handed over $20.00 and watched him carefully write out a receipt. All the while I told him about my dream of becoming an elementary teacher. I poured my heart out to him, telling him that I had always wanted to be a teacher but that my Mother said no, she was paying for my education and I needed to major in business because teachers didn't make any money so I did but now I was following my dream! I was going to online college! I had a captive audience too, he hung on to my every word until he finished filling out that receipt. He thanked me again then he was gone.
We had a visit from a weathered white guy a few weeks ago. He too had a notebook. It was about 115 degrees out side so I thought he deserved the courtesy of an interested listener. He immediately started in on his prepared speech. He speed through it gracefully as he flipped the pages of the notebook. His tone was a little sing song as he showed me the legalities of his personal charity, a homeless shelter for veterans. I couldn't send him away empty handed so I invited him in for a cold glass of water while I wrote the check. The water and the air conditioning caused him to get right chatty. He had been homeless himself and used the services of this shelter. In his previous life he was a van driver for Mayflower Moving. A back injury landed him in the hospital for surgery and a lengthy stay. When he was finally released, his home had been foreclosed and his assets which included a houseful of antiques was auctioned to pay his debts! This shelter helped him get his life together. He even served on the board of directors. Recently he bought a travel trailer with cash money. He would never be homeless again. His plan is to buy some land in Arkansas and live on it in his travel trailer. After hearing his personal testimony I regretted just writing the check for $10.00.
I know these were legitimate charities because I got a receipt and saw the proper paper work in their notebooks, but one guy came by the house last summer with the most original gimmick! It was so clever that I didn't hesitate to give him some of my hard earned money. This guy had a notebook too. He started out his speech by telling me that he was one talented fellow. He could rap and was a comedian too. He opened his notebook and showed me testimonials written by friends who were in agreement about his talent and charisma. He also had pictures of his little bastard daughter and of his mother too. I was surely interested in his pitch because I had no idea what he was selling. Finally he got to the meat of the matter. He was selling tickets to a show in which he would be the star! He wasn't sure when this show would occur but he guaranteed it would happen. For $20.00, my husband and I could attend. Also included in that price was an autographed 81/2 x 11 xerox copy of his picture. After receiving the $20.00 Our names would be added to a list. We would be mailed personal invitations to the event when it occurred.
My neighbor put up some kind of opaque film on her door windows so that no one could see her when she is pretending not to be home. But at our house, solicitors can see me when I can see them. I don't think I'll hang that sign. I'll keep my options open.