So I am minding my own business and watering my front lawn, just like my Landscaping Guru has instructed. The Husband is not yet home from work so I have both boys “helping” me by running around and splashing mud at each other.
Across the street I notice this sweet girl, maybe a college student, wearing a summery t-shirt and shorts, flip-flopping around the neighborhood depositing fliers door-to-door. Huh, she must be selling something.
Normally, I dread salespeople (see blog: Jesus CD). I hide from them and roll my eyes in disgust that I am being soooooooo inconvenienced by them and their Product.
But today, a more open-minded version of myself is out here watering the lawn. I will take her flier. I will even pretend to read her flier. Why insult her? There is no need for that. I can be kind, or at least kind of kind. And of course, I am eager to Set A Good Example for my children: We treat others in a kind manner. We do not avoid them and roll our eyes at them. We try to be respectful, especially since this is the person’s job, their livelihood.
(Also, since we are fairly new to the neighborhood, it does cross my mind that my neighbors might be able to see me in my yard and I don’t want to forever be branded as the Meanie Who Cusses Out Salespeople.)
What exactly is she selling anyway? She did not seem to have too many fliers left—has she been at this all day? it is getting late: dusk. She does not look like she is selling Jesus, as I think He might frown at how short her shorts are. Publicity for a new restaurant in town? I would love some coupons to a new restaurant, come to think of it. Or could it be a new local car wash? My car does just happen to be filthy. Ah, maybe she is a nanny or a babysitter. Maybe she is handing out information about her rates and hours of availability. I could use a babysitter for a couple hours!
College girl goes to the house across the street. She seems somewhat nervous about opening the gate because of the dog, but she perseveres. Gotta drop off that flier! She goes to my next-door neighbor. She knocks. No answer. His car is gone, so I know he is not there; yet I say nothing. She zig-zags across the street (!) missing my house entirely.
Wait—what just happened here?
What exactly is she selling? And how does she know automatically that I don’t want/ need/ can’t afford it? A minute ago I was becoming a Better Person and not shying away from a brief interaction with the salesgirl. For once in my life, I was not going to be rude and blow off the poor salesgirl.
And now the (restaurant?) tables have been turned and the salesgirl has snubbed ME!
I watch her in the distance. Next house. House after that. Oh, wait—now she is turning around! Aha! That’s it, she is circling back around. This is part of her special “drop-off pattern” that they taught her at Flier School. She goes to my other next-door neighbor. Then…..
She seems like she is walking our direction. I can now tell by the Look On Her Face that she is very seriously considering crossing the street again back away from us. Is she afraid I am going to squirt the hose at her? Not afraid of a dog, but afraid of a hose? Has that actually happened to her before—someone watering their lawn has inadvertently (or advertently—is that even a word?) squirted her with water when she was On The Job? That’s mean. Okay, I can see why she would stay away then.
I look at her hands—Gasp! No more fliers!
I can’t take it anymore. I. Must. Know. What. Is. Going. On.
“Excuse me,” I begin, “What are you selling?”
She looks at me, then looks at the boys and laughs. Is she ridiculing us? For a split second I think that she has sized up my children as “way too bratty” and therefore thrown away (or hidden in the back of her shirt) the rest of her Babysitting Fliers.
“I’m not selling anything. I live over there,” she motions to a house diagonally across from me and about three doors down, “and my dad is having his 60th Birthday Party so I was dropping off invitations.”
Now I feel about two inches tall. Of course I am not invited. We just moved here and we don’t even know them. All the people she gave the invitations to have lived here for a very long time. Between 20 or 30 years trumps six months.
“Oh, that’s great!” I surprise myself. “We just moved in recently, I’m MOV. I have not seen you around the neighborhood, you must be in college?”
“Yes,” says Not-a-Salesgirl-but-merely-a-Party-Planner. “I go to Penn.”
“How long are you home for this summer,” I ask casually, “and do you baby-sit?”
(“Mystery Of Visitor”)