It’s inevitable. The second I sit down at my computer to write, I will hear a knock at the door. It is, wait for it…a tree service representative. Here’s a sample of a conversation I had with one yesterday:
Me: “Are you here about the tree?” (I have a scraggly looking tree in a very prominent spot in my front yard.)
Him: “How did you know?”
Me: “Two other people knocked today.”
Him: “You see that tree over there? That tree is dead.”
Me: “Its okay. It did the same thing last year, but then it came back.”
Him: “Its got no leaves.”
He had a good point, but still, I wasn’t entirely convinced. I shook my head and began to close the door.
Him: “Wait! Hold on, do you mind if I just walk along the side of your fence a little?”
Me: “I don’t know. Why?”
Him: “So I can see your neighbor’s yards. You know, check for more dead trees.”
I agreed to this, but then, watching him walk back, I thought: Why on earth did I just agree to that? Exactly what kind of a neighbor am I? What I really should have done is not answer the door at all. I thought of a line from a story by Sherman Alexie:
“Trust me, no one interesting or vital has ever knocked on a front door at three in the afternoon, so I ignored the knocking and kept at my good work.”
I should have done this, too. Of course, the knocker in the story ends up thinking the guy isn’t home and goes around to his cellar door to break in. Thus, the title of Alexie’s story: Breaking and Entering.
Is there any way to win?