I was about 10.
I was selling Girl Guide cookies or raising money for a walkathon or a jump-rope-athon. (This was back in the days when schools and organizations encouraged kids to go knocking on strangers' doors to support their causes.) Door-to-door canvassing always made me nervous. But at least this time I was with a friend; that made it bearable. Even so, every time I knocked or rang the doorbell I held a fervent hope that no one would be home.
I remember approaching the tidy little house that sat on the main drag of our sleepy little community. The curtains were open in the large front window so that we could see in the house as we walked up the front steps.
Image credit: Kim Steele
Through the window, the movement from inside when we pressed the bell caught my eye. A small lady, about my grandmother's age, with grey, roller-set hair was hastily tiptoeing to the back of the house. From where we stood, we watched as she tucked herself behind a corner of the fridge and waited.
We stood there for a moment, not sure what to do, until we realized that no one was going to answer the door. We giggled as we walked away from the house, wondering aloud if maybe we should let her know that her hiding spot wasn't really a hiding spot at all.
Fast-forward 30 years (give or take, OK... give) I have become the lady that hides in the kitchen.
I hate answering the door.
There are many reasons for this -- among them, security. Who knows who's at the door? Other reasons include: I'm an introvert and don't really like talking to people I don't know; and if I really wanted what is being peddled on the street, I would likely be able to find a way to look for it. (I'm good with the Google.)
I used to grumble and answer it anyway.
The scene usually goes down something like this: It's 5 p.m. I am concentrating on getting supper together so that we can get out of the house less than an hour later.
bing (Our doorbell is old. It might have had a bong to go with the bing at one point, but it's gone.)
I'm in the kitchen. There are pots on the stove, steam coiling and water bubbling. I've got three minutes until the timer goes off and I have to check the chicken. I have a cutting board full of veggies ready to go. In other words -- the absolute worst time that the doorbell could ring.
Image credit: Kim Steele
I used to grumble and answer it anyway. I'd wait patiently through the spiel about how I need I different home phone/cable/internet provider, or a new home security system, or I need to attend a special event for Jesus -- all the while thinking about the abandoned cheese sauce that is burning on the bottom of the pan on the stove. I'd wait for my opportunity to say "Not today, thanks/It's not a good time for me; I'm just about to get supper on the table/Perhaps you could come back and talk to my husband." (He LOVES IT when I do that.)
These days, I'm more likely to shut everything down -- hush the kids, quiet the radio, turn down the volume on the Beyblade episode that the boys are watching -- like they do in a science fiction show when they shut down everything but life support to avoid detection of the enemy spaceships.
No one I know would pop over unexpectedly at 5 o'clock in the afternoon -- especially without calling first. So I hide by the fridge and tiptoe so as not to make any noise. I tend my pots and get supper ready and do not regret missing out on the latest offer from XYZ company -- that I could just as easily find online -- or some candy or cookies, or a visit from someone offering salvation and triangle sandwiches.
Please, don't ring my doorbell. It's just easier that way. Besides, if the person at the door is anything like me, I know deep-down they're probably hoping there's no one home anyway.
Would you get the doorbell?
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