A few months ago, there was a story on the late news about a man who opened his front door to one of his neighbors--and ended up the victim of a home invasion. Moral of the story: just because you recognize the face in the security peephole, it does not mean you're safe.
I don't let anyone I don't know past my front door. I don't let a lot of people I do know past my front door. That may sound paranoid, but we live in an increasingly dangerous world. And as anyone who's visited this blog before knows, I'm not exactly fond of my neighbors...not the ones I've met, anyway. In the almost seven years we've lived here, I've had some pretty weird critters come knocking...angry mothers who were going to call the police on me for taking photos of their kids playing ball in the courtyard (evidence, in the event they broke my windows--and perfectly legal)...kids trying to sell bracelets they didn't even have (I wonder if anyone actually bought any of that invisible jewelry?)...A monthly contingent of Jehovah's Witnesses who never get past the warm greeting that precedes the door slamming...and the occasional Avon lady who rarely speaks clear English (I'm surprised they still go door to door). But the guy who came calling on Wednesday afternoon took the Weird Dude Award.
Collin and I had just come home. I was putting groceries away when I heard the knock at the door. I looked through the blinds first, as I always do. The young man standing at the door was at least 6'3", slim but not skinny, Caucasian, with short, dark hair in what's sometimes called a "Caesar cut," and a lean, angular face. He was smiling--but then, Ted Bundy probably smiled at his victims when he was moving in for the kill, so a smile doesn't necessarily equate innocence. He started talking so fast, I thought he must be an auctioneer. I only understood half of what he was saying, and what I could understand, I didn't like. Who comes to your door and asks you, with all the subtlety of a bulldozer, if you're a pedophile?
He was going on about--I think--wanting to be a broadcaster and needing to work on his public speaking. I wanted to tell him he'd better shoot for another career. His people skills sucked more than mine. He said something about a trip to Germany and asked if I'd ever been there.
"No." I wanted to say, Sure. When I was working in the white slave trade.
"What do you do for a living?" he asked. At least I think that was what he was asking me. Do would-be sportscasters speak a language other than English?
"I'm a writer." Actually, I'm a madam. Didn't you see my ads on Craigslist, the slum of the internet?
Why, do I look that old? As long as I've been standing here listening to you ramble on, I think I might have aged ten years, actually. He was a nosy one, that's for sure.
I should have just said, "None of your business, buddy," and slammed the door in his face. Actually, I should have slammed the door in his face after the stupid pedophile comment, but he high-fived me when I said the only thing I wanted from kids was for them to stay as far away from me as humanly possible. Nice touch. I was curious as to what his real game was and decided to stay with it until I got bored.
Then he pulled out a handful of what appeared to be crumpled order forms and a list of magazines. "Could I use your table or something to fill this out?" he asked.
Nope. I don't know you. You stay out here. Comprende?
That was when I told him I get my magazines electronically and had things to tend to inside. I would rather clean the toilet than listen to any more of this. Did he think he'd sold me on anything? Who gives personal information to somebody who just shows up out of the blue at their door one day? In this age of identity theft? Nobody with half a brain.
It made me think of a news story from a few years back...a pedophile looking to conceal his legal status stole the identity of another man. Turned out the identity he stole was that of a fellow wanted for murder. In that instant, he must have known how Wile E. Coyote felt when the Acme anvil was about the land on top of him.
"You'll have to come back later," I told the guy at my door. Later...as in never.
"But this has to be done on first impression," he insisted.
Sorry, buddy...my first impression of you wouldn't get you anywhere.