Okay, so I’m in my family room this afternoon, engrossed in watching a PVR recording of the Canada versus Sweden men’s world curling game from Basel, Switzerland, when I heard the doorbell ring.
Now what? I hit ‘pause’, put my laptop on the floor, and stood up to peek out my basement window to see who had pulled into my yard. At the same time I mentally pictured my kitchen and living room areas upstairs–were they at least halfway neat and tidy? Did I still have dirty dishes on my counter? Too late to do anything about it now; unexpected guests will just have to take my house and me in whatever state of chaos they find us.
But there was no extra car in my driveway–just my 2002 Honda CRV complete with a few rust spots.
Then I spied it–a nondescript van parked on the side of the road, just down the street from my house. My antennae began to twitch and I immediately ducked back behind cover.
I held my breath, thankful I had muted the television and that I no longer had little children at home who would shout out, “Mommy–somebody’s at the door!” while at the same time running to fling it open.
I knew who had rung my doorbell, although I didn’t know if it was a man or a woman, or if it was maybe even a man and a woman. It was mid-afternoon, mid-week, early in the month, just before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, so I knew it was either Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons, and I didn’t want to talk to them.
I watched discreetly through a corner of my window and saw a man and then a woman return to the van from the directions of my neighbor’s homes. I assumed my ‘visitor’ was still standing at my front entrance, probably scanning the main windows for signs of movement, unaware that I had turned into a ‘ninja’ as soon as I realized I was under attack.
I’ve had years of perfecting my invisible woman routine; when I was growing up, in the country, we had traveling salesmen that went door-to-door pedaling their goods. Mostly we were visited by the Watkins man and the Fuller Brush man, and my grandmother used to make us hide behind the curtains if she spied one of them in the driveway before the knock came on our door. Sometimes we were too late, and when that happened the salesman spent at least half an hour spreading out his brushes and creams and vitamins and powders that when added to a pitcher of water made a delicious orange drink.
But on the times when we were successful, when our bodies were hiding, motionless, behind full-length drapes or around room corners, one of us would have the task of peeking out once in a while to see if the salesman had given up and driven away. I remember seeing the Fuller Brush man, in particular, scan our windows for at least five minutes, daring one of us to appear. We never did. Grammy would have been very upset with us, and we didn’t want that.
Now I use my years of training to hide from religious salespeople (even though they don’t call themselves that). I know that my grandmother would be very proud of the fact that I remembered what she taught me!
What about you? Do you always answer your door? And if you do, do you engage in conversation even though you would rather not? Or are you like me, donning your ‘cloak of invisibility’, muting the television, and stuffing cookies into your children to keep them quiet until the uninvited salesperson leaves?
I’d love to know!