So, I'm cooking the family dinner-- ricotta-stuffed penne pasta in tomato-basil sauce with added fresh oregano, a side of roasted potatoes in olive oil and mixed Italian herbs, and garlic bread, if you must know-- when there comes a knock on the front door. John is busy playing a game with Isaac in Isaac's room, so I decide to go answer it.
I see a twenty-something white guy, about five feet four inches tall, musclebound, buzz-cut and tattooed in the way of short scrappy men who feel they have something to prove, wearing a white wifebeater (which can sort of be forgiven being it's 86 degrees outside) and a pair of cheap, torn jeans (for which there can be really no excuse).
Behind him is a much taller black man, looking much more respectable and friendlier in a pair of khaki pants and a smart fitted tee.
They have brochures and a spray bottle of some kind of cleaner. It's immediately clear they're selling something. I have a handwritten NO SOLICITORS sign clearly visible in the window right next to my front door.
And it's clear they've seen it, because the first thing scrappy white dude says when I crack open the door is, "I'm a fairy godmother!"
Which was pretty amusing, given the source.
So giggle a little, but I say, "Hey, I'm cooking dinner. I don't have time for any demonstrations."
To which Scrappy says, "That's what the people next door said, too," as he hands me a brochure.
But before I can reply, Well, perhaps that is because you are soliciting door-to-door during the dinner hour, dyathink? Scrappy pulls out a black permanent marker and starts scribbling furiously all over a white washcloth he's got with him. "You know how Michael Jackson turned himself white?" he asks.
Almost involuntarily I look straight at Sophisticated Black Man, who looks right back at me, shakes his head silently, and rolls his eyes to indicate that he does indeed find his companion's remark ridiculous.
And now my new friend in the wifebeater is spraying the cleaner he's carrying on the washcloth, and the permanent marker really is disappearing; in fact, the area he sprayed, within seconds, turns snow white, cleaner than the rest of the cloth. It's pretty amazing, actually.
I can hear my pasta starting to boil over in the kitchen.
"That works well," I say, "But I need to finish dinner."
"But wait!" exclaims Scrappy. "I can show you how it cleans this mildew off of your siding!" And he starts spraying my house with this miracle shit, without asking. I'm pretty ticked. I have vinyl siding, anyway. It doesn't mildew. He was spraying at a spot of sidewalk chalk leftover from some overzealous decorations gifted to me a few days ago by some of my son's friends in the neighborhood.
"Dude, I gotta go. My pasta is boiling over," I say. By which I really, of course, mean, Stop spraying unknown substances on my house, and step the hell off my property. And I send Scrappy a look that implies it.
At this point Scrappy steps back a bit and, for the first time, notices the Obama sign that is also in my window.
"You're gonna vote for Obama?" he says. "Why on earth would you do that?"
"Because it's the right choice." The Well-Dressed Black Man, speaking for the first time, asserts this calmly and confidently.
I wonder what the hell he's doing selling spray cleaner door-to-door. He clearly doesn't seem to be enjoying it.
"Shoot, naw. It's McCain all the way," says Scrappy, annoyed now. "Come on, let's go." He starts to walk off, but then turns and says, abruptly, "I need my brochure back."