Monday, 19 February 2007

the scarlet j

I was upstairs on the computer when I heard voices.

Bear had company? Okay. I signed off and trotted downstairs, where I pulled up short, espying two serious-and-sober young men with dark coats on. One was carrying a backpack. Both were talking animatedly with Bear about the area. Were these the new neighbors?

I smiled when introduced (promptly forgetting their names) and sat down. Bear was in full flow about the schools in the district. They were smiling and nodding and listening and...watching the kids.

Something began to tick over in my head.
Jess, you've met the new neighbors. They're both British, remember? He said something about a seventeen-year-old-son, but these guys are closer to thirty. Okay. Not the neighbors, then. But who?

And then one of them whipped out a Bible and all was revealed.

Bear was deep in conversation about tax rates and fire departments and it was obvious I was the only one who had any qualms about the situation.
I cleared my throat.
"Excuse me, are y'all preachers?"
They laughed and assured me they were not, just bible students, and they were visiting everyone in the neighborhood.
This didn't make me feel comforted. I pasted on my biggest smile and coughed again.
All eyes swiveled 'round.
"Are you Jehovah's Witnesses? Because....we're not."

There was a small silence. Bear's ears were flushing. (But, damnit, he should have known this was coming.)

One of them said something about bringing God's word into people's homes and how small groups of people blah blah blah and I nodded, agreed (idn't it wonnerful?) and told them there were other houses in the neighborhood that perhaps they would enjoy talking to more.
Than this one.

They left soon afterwards, sitting in their car for quite awhile (probably praying for Bear, since he's stuck with me) before leaving.
Surprisingly, they didn't stop at any other house within sight of ours.

But now they know that in this house lives both a talkative one and a sarcastic nasty one. And that combination seems to encourage groups like that one to try harder.

If there are any return visits, I shall consider Sam's way.

Sam was a friend of mine, working his way through college, putting himself through with a night bartending job. The school he went to was a big draw for the roaming religions, and every Friday morning, (after working a late shift Thursday night) Sam would be woken by the doorbell ringing. He tried politeness. He tried firmness. Finally, after one really late night where he'd gotten barely any sleep, he rolled out of bed (naked and semi-erect) flung open the door, and roared "I'm busy!" The two women there squeaked out sorries and ran away, leaflets fluttering to the ground behind them.

I guess they never came back...

Now I hope it doesn't come to that. I'm not at all sure I could get Bear to do that.

But it's tempting.


Stomper Girl said...

Sam is my hero.

Wisconsin Crunchy Mama said...

If bear doesn't do it, you could always try! LOL

Joke said...

The last time this happened to me I answered brandishing a VERY large Rosary and muttering some serious-sounding prayers in Latin.

I believe they left skidmarks.


Anonymous said...

We have so many signs on our door, our sweet little girl scouts won't even knock!

We had "No Soliciting" on the door. Yeah, right. Everyone would insist "Oh I didn't know what that meant" or "I'm NOT selling anything" Yeah, right.

Then, early one Sunday morning, a middle-aged woman and a young woman double-rang AND knocked the door. I consider that rude. Before 9? On a SUNDAY?! Rude. I pointed to the No SOliciting sign and the oldest one chirpped "Oh, We are SELLING ANYTHING. We are SHARING!" and then made the fatal mistake of blocking my attempt to shut My. Own. Front. Door.
I whipped that door open and yelled in my reach-the-back-of-the-auditorium voice: "OH! SHARING! GREAT! What's Your address so I can come KNOCK ON YOUR FUCKING DOORS EARLY NEXT SUNDAY AND PUSH MY RELIGIOUS VIEWS DOWN YOUR THROATS! GET OUT OF HERE AND NEVER, EVER COME BACK! You are RUDE!"
They Ran away - yes skidmarks about says it all.
Then oldest made a bright yellow sign that said "No SElling Things and NO RELIGIOUS SHARING!!!"
I helped him with the last sentence...

Molly said...

They're everywhere. When I was growing up in ninety nine and a half percent Catholic Ireland they would arrive at the door. If you were naive enough to open it, they would firmly plant a big shoe in the opening so you couldn't shut the door in their faces. And when you are taught to treat people with respect and not interrupt....lets say it was an uphill struggle to learn to say firmly and unequivocally "I'm not interested. Goodbye", and then firmly shut the door. If their foot gets stuck in it, that's a bonus!

meggie said...

We have had pests like these.
We have devised novel ways of getting rid of them.
Our latest & best is a locked screen door, & two barking dogs.

But I wish we had a Sam!

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

My mother had a neighbour in Alice Springs did the same thing when the Jehovahs wouldn't let his wife get away from the front door. Stripped and walked up casually behind her and said something like: "Tell the nice men we're busy, honey."

So, maybe next time Bear could stay clothed and you could...?

Spanglish said...

Sam is amazing.

I don't miss the religious sharing at all. I don't know why they don't come around here, but they haven't yet.

And now I've probably jinxed myself.