The Dude at the Door

Dear WBGH door-to-door fundraiser guy,

I was going to leave a short, “it’s not you, it’s me” note on the door. But I won’t. Because it’s not me. It’s you.

It does appear that you’ve been trained to identify yourself and point to your WBGH badge, even if it is one I could reproduce with a 2 second Google search and my laminator. It’s a nice touch to thank me for being a loyal supporter. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve never given money to any public radio station, and it makes me uneasy that you’re pretending to check my name on your clipboard. So as quickly and politely as I could, I asked you to leave information in my mailbox. I have to go, I said. Good luck, I said.

Anyone walking door to door in cold weather to raise a few dollars for the local station probably spends his free time finding homes for stray dogs and never balking about tampons on the grocery list. Your hand-knitted wooly hat and ice-grippy boots belie a dangerous dude at the door. But there was something that made me want you off of my stoop, and your response only reinforced why:

“I’m going to the other houses, so I’ll just circle back and check with you again later.”

No, don’t do that. Just… no. Is not taking “no” for an answer in the training? Is a woman’s first refusal always a springboard for negotiation? Is this me reacting to too many #MeToo stories?


But now I’m hiding at my dining table away from the front windows hoping a stranger doesn’t think I’m being rude. It’s a well-known situation for many of us, this worry about hurting the feelings of others, even if said “others” are making us feel pressured, unsafe, badgered, or beholden. Well, no more, WBGH dude. I don’t believe you when you say you “need to sign people up today” or that you cannot accept donations via mail. It’s cold outside and I want the door closed. I didn’t invite you to my home or ask you to return. And frankly, I hate you a little for not reading (or worse, ignoring) my body language that is screaming, “Get off of my stoop!”

My boys just got home and I told them about you: how you leaned in a little too close, how you insisted on returning, how I was home alone and didn’t want you lingering around my door. Teddy ran upstairs and grabbed his nun chucks. Brodie found his wooden “practice sword.” They’re only too happy to defend the hearth and home in a playful, mom-is-being-nutso way. But I made sure they understood where I was coming from: always listen to a girl when she is telling you “no.” Respect and honor that “no.” Don’t be the clueless, close-talking dude at the door.

“Duh, mom. We know. He’s probably just SUPER awkward. I mean, he’s raising money for WBGH.”

But the weapons are still on hand. Just in case. The little dears.


The Mom Not Answering the Door


Go. Away.



4 responses

      • Imagine this simple/typical situation in NYC 100 years ago and today. A man starts walking like a drunk person and collapse on a crowded Manhattan street at the beginning of XX century: many people stop and he is shortly approached by some folks acting like brothers/sisters who feel uncomfortable to see him laying on the the street. Unfortunately, at that time people were not aware about heart attacks and were not able to call 911 or help other way. It was only good that he was seeing many faces above him worrying about his condition before dying.
        Today, in the same situation the majority will not stop and pretend not seeing him lying on the street if he is also not dressed well.
        I am sure that in 77.79% (haha!), if they will be asked 100 meters away by a reporter “Why did they ignore this poor man?” the answer will be close to your nicely written conclusion: “I am honestly feeling uneasy or unsafe”.

        Yes, it is nothing wrong in this statement when on top of that we are ‘attacked’ by poor people in our own and expensive homes created for better isolation from others.
        And here/now is opened a “Pandora box’ with more difficult questions about modern forms of the old human devils like egoism, ego-centrism, laziness etc. Amen.

        • There is a significant difference between ignoring someone who has collapsed in a public place, and not giving money to someone who comes to your home and refuses to take no for an answer. You are drawing comparisons between two different situations.

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