Our neighborhood has sidewalks. The houses are close together and there are no noteworthy inclines. It is a prime trick-or-treating neighborhood, which means it is also a prime soliciting neighborhood. We get everyone: religious people (mostly Jevhovah’s Witnesses), carpet cleaners, magazine and peanut brittle peddling teenagers, vaguely Christian coloring books—you know, the usual. We always politely decline. Actually, once, my husband gave someone 5 dollars for college—or something. I made a snide (but inaudible to the young woman at the door) comment about student loans. My husband has a tendency to assume the best of strangers and I assume they are casing the joint. I admire his generosity of spirit at the same time I prepare to imply we own a firearm. (We don’t.) (But if you are planning on home invading us, we do.)
I have gone door-to-door once. It was during the 2004 Presidential election. I was in college in Evanston, Illinois and my friends and I signed up with MoveOn.org to go knock on doors on election day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was initially assigned the job of making sure registered democrats were able to vote. I was carrying a MoveOn.org sign and wearing a pin. Even though it didn’t say a candidate’s name, and I was carrying the sign facing my body, my presence in the elementary school auditorium where the polls were set up created a terrifying “electioneering” mini-scandal that lasted about 6 minutes. I was sweating. I wished I had taken AP Government. As I went outside to call headquarters a man from the Kerry campaign followed me to make sure I wasn’t being silenced unfairly. As we were talking about what had happened he said, “Whoa, are you Katy Moloney’s sister?” (I am) It turns out that one of the lawyers for the campaign was my sister’s junior prom date. This was amazing because we are from Los Angeles and neither of us lived in Wisconsin and this man had not seen me since I was 11. Of all the polling places in all the world…
I was re-assigned to knocking on doors with my roommate. We offered people rides to the polling place, we encouraged them to vote. Then we turned in our signs, went to Chipotle and drove back to Illinois. Everyone who answered the door was perfectly nice. Even the people who weren’t that nice were nice enough. No one told us to get off their property.
But I will. I don’t want people knocking on my door. I just don’t. Unless they have the lettuce cups I ordered. I am thinking about a discreet sign. A little “no soliciting please” sign. But that seems so crotchety. So stingy. I can’t even be bothered to tell someone to stop bothering me? Next I will be insisting on a gate. I would love a gate.
I will cross the street, or forgo a trip to Trader Joe’s to avoid solicitors and I donate to the Human Rights Campaign! I support the cause but please, no, don’t talk to me. Let me buy my pre-cooked lentils. So when I am home, safely enjoying the internet, my spouse, our dog, the television, it is too much to ask. I’m sorry. I don’t have the room in my heart. Whatever it is you’re asking for is too much, didn’t you see the sign?