A knock at the door

Earlier this evening I was peck, pecking away at my keys when there came a knock at my door.

Now, no one knows where I live, really. About 99 percent of my socializing goes on at work. My domestic seclusion is partly voluntary (to avoid “hey you!” sorts of details that pop up in the military when you’re too available) and partly not (most have families), so the fact that someone was at my door in the cold of the evening was very unexpected.

“Hey there man–oh, sorry to bother you while you were eating–,” said the guy at my door. I was holding a plate of pizza rolls, just out of the microwave. He was a white guy garbed up in a normal hip-hop getup–logo-ized stocking cap, pulled low, and a zirconium “bling” encrusted dog-tag chain, long shirt, etc.

“Oh that’s alright,” I said, and popped another pizza roll in. “What’s up?”

“I just came from your neighbors about three doors down and am on my way to meeting a 1000 people who are friendly and not violent, you think you might fit that description?”

I laughed, “I guess.”

“Cool, man, cool. I was hoping you were, it’s a long way down,” he motioned off the balcony and had a laugh, before continuing. “Hey man, how long have you been in the Army?”

“About…ummm, four years,” it took me a minute to think.

“Wow, so that would make you, what? Twenty four?”

“Close, 26.”

“Well that works for you, ’cause you don’t look a day over 24. How old do you think I am?”

Dude, I had no idea. I don’t guess at ages very often. “Oh, I don’t know, man. Umm, 28?”

“Close man, close, ha ha! Hey, I just wanted to thank you for what you’re doing man, fighting for us and all that, you know. Are you going to have to go back to Iraq?”

“Maybe, things are a little crazy right now. There’s a lot of reorganizing going on.”

“Yeah, wow, that’s great. Listen, I’m trying to go on a cruise, man. You ever been on a cruise?”

“Me? Nope.”

“Well, I’m trying to get on one, and this year it’s guys against the girls. First one to 20,000 points get it, and it’s going to be me. You know why?”

“Why’s that?”

“‘Cause you’re going to help me get some points, you know how you can do that?”

“Nope,” ah yes, I’ve been though this routine before.

“You can help me out by getting some magazines. I know nobody wants ’em, but they’re cheap and we have a lot of ’em. What are some of your hobbies?”

“I do some graphic design, some writing, you know stuff like that.”

“On computers?”

“Yeah, sometimes.”

“Wired. You get that?”


“Well there it is my man, right there, just fill out this slip right here and–”

“Look, man, I’ve done this before and have been burned–”

“Oh, when was that?”

“Back at Fort Knox, I signed up for some magazines and they never came.”

“Were they using pink slips or yellow slips?”

“I don’t remember, but–”

“Well, we got different slips now, see the address at the bottom is different?”

“Look, no thanks, I don’t want any magazines.”

“Well, let me ask you this. If two dogs walked by your door and one peed on it, would you get mad at the other dog?”

“No, but–”

“I’m that second dog. Don’t have to get mad at me.”

“I’m not interested in any magazines.”

“So, you’re telling me that you let me go through my whole thing when all you had to say was I’m not interested at the start?”

“Hey, sorry, I don’t need any magazines.”

“Well, you know what?” he gritted his teeth. “You have a good night, then.”

“You too, man.”

I’m more naive than I thought. I thought, honest to God, that he was out meeting people, whether it was for some religious reason or maybe some quirky social experiment…I guess because I could see myself doing something like that. But, nope, just out to get some money. I felt like a moron for investing in the conversation. Next time I should, what? Just close the door? That’s not very neighborly.



About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

8 responses to “A knock at the door”

  1. BWJones says :

    We have a very simple policy… We buy *nothing* at the door and we do not give money away at the door to charities. We know what magazines and products we want and we have charities that we give money to, but no transactions will take place on our doorstep.

    That is a policy that people seem to be able to respect and that is all one has to say.

  2. Felyne says :

    Okay, for him to say “So, you’re telling me that you let me go through my whole thing when all you had to say was I’m not interested at the start?” … I’d be like “well you should have said from the START you were selling something, and cut the whole charade thing.”

    I’ve got a very sceptical, cynical look that I put on whenever strangers come to my door. Kinda sets the tone for “what do you want and why are you bothering me at my home at night”, but then Im a single chick living alone, so I guess people are a little more mindful of that perhaps.

    I’d never just close the door on someone, that’s pretty rude. It is important to cut to the chase and not beat around the bush though. Where you said “that’s okay” I would have followed up with a stern “can I help you?”.

  3. Lessie says :

    Gosh, from my point of view it ended fairly well. I was afraid you were building to a home evasion or mania-driven knife attack. The guy sounds manic — and scary. Yikes! Don’t open your door to strangers anymore! Course…that’s not very neighborly.

  4. Felyne says :

    Manic? *takes exception to that remark* What if this guy had just been robbed and was coming to you for help, or if he simply wanted to know if it was his friends house, or if he needed some sort of medical help? If the gentleman was manic then he would almost certainly need help.

    And the bludgeoning worked, I have a magical code for you. How should I get it to you?

  5. salmons says :

    Fel: Sweet, just “email me” and send it that way 😉 You can hit that up on my author page. Muy thanks!

  6. priya says :

    Sadly, and maybe it is just me, I did giggle at your description! Personally, I might have listened politely up until he said: ‘You can help me out by getting some magazines’…and cut off the conversation at the knees by saying ‘man, the Internet is terrible isn’t it? I get all my news online, but thank you so much for trying. Good luck at the next home.’ before firmly closing the door. Having wished the guy well, I feel absolutely no remorse in closing the door 🙂

  7. FTM29 says :

    Wired! What about Playboy? Stuff? Hey, tell that dude to come to my door in Taji and I will buy every one he has!

  8. salmons says :

    Yeah, seriously! They’d do crazy-good business overseas.

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