Archive for May, 2007

Knock Knock

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

I live in a nice neighborhood. Not a fancy neighborhood, and certainly not a ritzy one, but a nice one. Lawns are tended, houses are tidy, and for the most part, everyone behaves. It’s a nice place to live.

Apparently it’s also a nice place to visit. On Halloween, we get trick-or-treaters that come from other neighborhoods to enjoy our wide, well-lit streets. During the rest of the year we get solicitors. It didn’t take long for us to get tired of the frequent knocks and doorbell ding-dongs of those trying to convince us we needed what they were offering: raffle tickets, vacuum cleaners, home services and, of course, religion.

Now I’ve got no problem with religion, but as far as I’m concerned, your religion is just that – yours. I don’t care if you are Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Pagan or a member of the Church of the Flaming Chicken. If it makes you happy, I’m happy. Just leave me the fuck out of it, please.

We put a “No Solicitors” sign on our door. A big, ugly, incredibly obvious “No Solicitors” sign. It’s two inches high and six inches wide. The sign is clearly visible from the street. But guess who still knocks on our fucking door? The people selling relgion. It makes me fucking nuts.

It especially bugs me when I answer the door, paste a big smile on my face, and say in my ultra-nice, ultra-polite voice “I would appreciate it if you would please not come back, thank you” and the person cops an attitude. What the fuck? In my head, I’ve made my preference to not be bothered in my own home perfectly clear. I have explicitly stated this by putting that ugly-assed sign on my door, right at eye level. That’s pretty much the only reason that sucker’s up there – I do not want to be bothered. To me, that sign basically says “If you weren’t invited, don’t ring the bell.” (With a very few exceptions, like the day I found our Maggie cat and canvassed the area looking for her home.)

As far as I’m concerned, that gives everyone notice that I don’t want to be bothered. In other words, bother me at your own peril. The fact that I am being nice, polite, gentle and very friendly is just me choosing to not be an asshole. The person ringing the bell doesn’t necessarily deserve it, but I’m going to give it anyway. But when that person starts copping an attitude and getting shitty with me, like I’m the one who is wasting your time? That’s crap, end of story.

Sometimes when I look at the No Solicitors sign and then look at the person on my porch, they will say “Oh but I’m not soliciting!”, practically adding a neener-neener-neener at the end of the sentence. Well, actually, you are. But the last thing I want to do is waste more time enlightening this person as to the definitions of the verb “soliciting” that do not involve cash. I have been known to just quietly shut the door at this point.

One person who insisted on this tact came to our door three times over the course of about five weeks. On the third trip I finally dropped the polite routine and informed him that we did not wish to be visited by him again, that we had told him this on at least two previous occasions, and that we would really appreciate it if he would respect our wishes (which, again, are clearly posted on the front door) and leave us alone. He tried to argue the definition of soliciting, but before he could finish I interrupted. Does it really matter? I knew what he was offering. I wasn’t interested last week or the week before, am not interested this week, nor will I be next week. So why are you here?? I felt like adding “Now go in peace before I beat the fuck out of you.”

I’ve thought up many a clever quip along the lines of “Oh you can read!” when someone wants to share a passage from a book or a flyer. I’ve considered keeping a stack of printouts containing the definition of soliciting in the entryway. Beau Hunk has a more practical devious fantasy: set a sprinkler aimed at the front door and turn it on as they approach the entry vestibule, thus trapping them by a blasting sprinkler and giving a good soaking. But the truth is, I don’t want to be mean, I just want my wishes to be respected.

Not just my wishes, the wishes of everyone who has a sign like ours. For instance, the neighbors across the street. They have the exact same sign that we do on their door. But they have it for a different reason: they are shut-ins and can barely move. They are 89 and 91, both on walkers. One suffers from Alzheimer’s and the other has had a stroke. Moving isn’t easy for these folks. It takes them seven rings of the phone to cross a twelve foot room and retrieve the handset. For them to come to the door is a monumental task. And yet, they get visited too.

I don’t think the people who roam the neighborhood understand the impact of their actions on these people. For them, it isn’t about convenience or interruption, it’s about precious energy and painful movement. No one gets that until the door gets answered. I hope the ringers of the bell at least have the capacity to feel like asses for putting these people through that kind of effort, all because they believe their purpose for being on the porch is far more important than anything that could possilby be going on in the lives of the resident.

Putting the “Duh” in Mudduh’s Day

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Last night, after I put Woo to bed, I was taking a few minutes to cruise around my usual internet haunts, which have gone most ignored since final exams are looming. I cruised into a Mother’s Day thread at The Usual Suspects and read someone’s post asking how you plan to celebrate with your mother, etc. That’s when it hit me. Oh fuck.

I totally forgot my mom. I remembered Woo’s mom, I remembered my role as mom, but I completely spaced on my own mom. That is a unique feeling of being fucked. And at 10:30pm on a Saturday night, there’s no way to escape it.

I got up this morning, and by 8:15 was calling florists in my mom’s town. But apparently, most florists are closed on Sundays, even if it’s Mother’s Day Sunday. If you ask me, that’s missing out on a really big opportunity, because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in the country that woke up in the doghouse this morning. But marketing opportunity or no, they were closed.

Beau Hunk and I started coming up with other ideas – maybe we could arrange to send them to dinner and pre-pay the restaurant from here. No dice. Gift cards are all over the place, but you can’t buy them over the phone, and if you buy online the only option is to ship it. Damn. It was a nice thought though.

I even called my brother to see if he had any ideas. As soon as I said “I forgot mom”, I could hear him wince. He knows a dumbassed move when he hears it. But he had no suggestions for me. He took my parents fishing yesterday and made dinner for them last night. Well, aren’t you just the good son, eh? He laughed at that and wished me good luck.

Being out of ideas, I was just about to call mom and confess. But I decided to try the next town over to see what I could do. I found a webpage from the local news station that talked about last minute gifts, and had some ads. One of them was a florist in that next town. I called, and miracle or miracles, I got a human. A local human at that, not some call center person sitting in Bumfuck, Egypt. The first thing I asked was “Do you deliver?” Yep. “Do you deliver to [mom's town]?” Yep. “Can you save me??” Oh yeah.

I asked what kind of living plants they had, and the first thing out of her mouth was azalea. Mom loves azaleas! Even better, their prices were a bargain. Even with tax, delivery, and dumbfuck fee, I still came out a good $20 less than FTD’s price before all those fees and taxes. I swear, I hung up the phone and did a little dance. All I can say is that I must be living a good life to have this kind of luck.

I called mom to wish her a happy day and let her know to expect a delivery. What I didn’t do was confess. I decided she didn’t need to know that I forgot her and had to scramble at the last minute to come up with a gift. Some things are just better left unsaid.

She called this afternoon to let me know that my gift had arrived, and that she appreciated it. The plant turned out to be even better than I expected. I was a little worried, since sometimes phone orders seem to be filled with the stuff that no one would buy in person. But in this case, the shop really came through. She sent pics, and it was a beautiful plant – fat and even, covered in double blossoms, and in a lovely copper pot.

So all’s well that ends well. I may have put the “duh” in Muddah’s Day, but at least my mom is none the wiser. In the end, that’s what matters.