I am sitting in my comfy chair, in my fudge stained favorite sweatshirt, hair pulled back in an unkempt knot at the back of my head. My teeth aren’t brushed, no make-up on, coffee in hand, laptop on lap, Maury about to announce who the father is (I gotta know!). I stop cold, a spoonful of Captain Crunch lifted to my mouth. I hear a car, I hear footsteps…I know what is about to happen. Yet I’m powerless to stop it.
The doorbell rings. Ugh.
I immediately go into Doorbell Dodger mode. I haven’t moved this fast since I found out there was only one chocolate glazed donut left in the kitchen at work.
First step, shut off the TV (dang it, now I’ll never know who the father is), then dive head first under the coffee table and hold my breath. I can’t recall if I closed the curtains on the front door, and darn it, I see the visitor doing the “shade the eyes and look through the window” thing; it’s really kind of creepy. The doorbell rings again, then the mystery person knocks. Maybe even a cheery “Hello” from the other side of the front door. Is it my neighbor? A friend? Publisher’s Clearing House? Jehovah’s Witness? The police looking for me after I jaywalked last week? I may never know, because I hear a scuffling of feet before a car door slams and the sound of a car engine fading into the distance. I tiptoe to the window and gently pull the curtain to the side, not far, just enough to peep through. Car is gone. That was a close one, I narrowly escaped. Whew!
Now that the threat of invasion is over, I start to wonder about the identity of the mystery caller. I open the door and check for packages, letters, any clues at all. Now the burning question — other than who the father is, obviously, is…who was the random caller? And why the hell were they at my door? The downside of Doorbell Dodging is that you will be obsessing the rest of the day over who it could have been.
I feel kind of hypocritical. I post sweet statuses about my door always being open, I’ll always be there, night or day if you need me…but really, those are just statuses I copied and pasted because I was too lazy to think of one of my own. The reality is, I don’t like unannounced people on my doorstep. I’d say call me first, but I never answer my phone either.
I have learned to transform into full Ninja when I hear a car in the driveway; I’ll be locked in the basement before you even hit the first step. When I miss the tires on the gravel, though, I can get caught short and have to hide behind curtains or furniture. I’ve gotten really good at, if I may say so myself.
What is it about a doorbell that turns us into secretive fugitives in our own homes? The guilt of our actions makes us feel that our visitor has X-Ray vision and can see right into the bathroom, behind the shower curtain, and into your soul.
I don’t mind company if I know it’s coming. Ok, I don’t despise company if I know that it’s coming a week in advance. All right, all right; I will tolerate company if they have made a preset appointment a month prior and have stated the exact purpose and length of their stay prior to arriving.
I’d be a little more ashamed of this if I thought I was alone, but I know I’m not. I am working on a few inventions for my fellow Doorbell Dodgers, if you’d like a sneak peek:
- I am going to design a cover that turns my car invisible because I feel the car in the driveway is a dead give-away that I am doorbell dodging.
- I will be inventing a table disguise that can be slipped on at a moment’s notice, transforming myself into a piece of furniture for the duration of the doorbell episode.
- I have brainstormed the idea of stick-on house numbers that can be slapped over your real numbers, making your visitor think they are at the wrong door. I just can’t figure out how to install the numbers in stealth mode. Slipping my arm out the door long enough to affix the decals – and in full view of the intruder on my welcome mat, seems a bit awkward … not to mention alerting them to my whereabouts.
- I have crafted suction cups for your hands and feet, so you can scale the wall like a fly and hang on to the ceiling to avoid detection. (this one is my favorite just in case you wanted to know)
- I have recorded an endless loop of shower noises to be played over a loudspeaker, activated by the push of the doorbell. I have also recorded sneezes and horrible fits of coughing to scare the offender away. For a small additional charge, you can upgrade to my recording of the barks of St. Bernards, German Shepherds and Great Danes with a voice frantically screaming, “Get back, get back!” in the background.
- When all else fails, I have created a pair of “pants” that slip on the front only, so it appears you are wearing pants when you answer the door. This is a last resort … a Hail Mary if you will. Just be careful to remain facing your visitor at all times.
Let’s face it, the doorbell can ring at any time; it’s just a matter of when. Always be alert, and until I can roll out my aforementioned handy-dandy inventions, be prepared:
- Have a blanket the same color as your couch cushions to throw over you when the doorbell rings
- Practice your escape route often. Be prepared to hurtle over barking dogs and dodge obstacles in the hallway for a clean escape.
- Have more than one hiding place in case someone else in the house beat you to the first one.
- Plan a spot to meet your family in the house after the visitor is gone so you can monitor windows in case he changes his mind.
- Never let your guard down. Doorbells can ring at all hours of the day and night. You are never really safe. Practice your stop, drop, and roll crawl across the living room floor on a routine basis.
- Remember that sometimes a visitor will remain on the step for a minute or two after the last door chime. This is a trap that has caught many unsuccessful doorbell dodgers in the past.
- Keep a pair of pants by the front door, just in case.
All kidding aside, anyone is welcome to my home, any time. Just sign up for an appointment, call me in advance, and answer my prescreening questions.
Also, bring a bathing suit and be careful; that moat is full of alligators.