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When Bizarre Rings the Doorbell


My doorbell rang today. It never rings. While working at a little kitchen nook on my computer, my cat Maisy-Mae curled up behind my laptop screen (where the warms live) and fell into a delighted, snuggly slumber. Then the doorbell rang: she lost her mind and bolted from the counter, sending my papers, keys, and laptop cord flying in different directions.

Immediately I combed through the mental Rolodex of who rings my doorbell: no one, no one, the odd drunken guy from the nearby apartment complex looking for money, no one, the neighbor boy who has taken a shine to my kitty. Since it's daylight, I presume it's neighbor-boy.

I opened the door a smidge, in case Maisy regained her senses and tried to dash out and also because I'm not wearing a bra. An adorable and earnest young man stood on the other side—yes, I just channeled my dear departed grandmothers.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," he said.

I explained that I peered out through the very narrow open space because of my daring kitty. I left my bra, or lack thereof, out of it. He promised me he'd play defense.

My new friend said he represented the Environment Virginia Research & Policy Center and launched into a roughly 7-minute spiel throughout which I dutifully said, "Uh-huh," thinking each time I uttered it that "the ask" was coming next. Then he handed me a tablet that said pretty much exactly what he had already said, but with pictorial emotional appeals. How does that tablet help, I wondered? After realizing no new information was available on the tablet, I handed it back. Maybe Millennials and beyond need to see information digitally before they can actually process it?

I said, "So what are you hoping this information will make me do?"

"I'm glad you asked," he said, and smiled quite earnestly. I fell right into the well laid trap of his script.

He wanted a donation. I wish would could have skipped to that, like, 7-8 minutes sooner. Not that I'm knocking the young man's hustle. He obviously cares a great deal about palatable drinking water, environmental impacts, and legislative loopholes that put our communities at risk. And frankly, I do, too.

I'm proud to say I resisted the urge to provide feedback about his organization's solicitation techniques. Because, FAIL. I'm never ever going to give credit card information or cash to some person who randomly rings my doorbell, even if their cause was setting up a foundation to make me independently wealthy in the next three days—especially not then. I'm just not gonna. I got burned by one of those door-to-door magazine salesmen in college, and it solidified my distrust of conducting business with random strangers at my front door.

The thing that sticks with me the most is that the crux of his argument of why I needed to donate right then at the door on his tablet was that such a commitment actually had an impact on lawmakers. Really? Is that a real thing? I'm dubious. Who buys that? How or why does that work? For my little friend, I'm sad to say it likely doesn't often, unless he happens to knock on the door of a completely likeminded individual who meant that very day to donate to the cause in question and suddenly this young man at the door with his tablet is the ideal opportunity said likeminded individual was awaiting.

#strangerthanfiction

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