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For people who spend the day saying and writing things that others accept, while thinking things that are infinitely more interesting.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Animal Moment #3

When you’re a door-to-door salesperson, you have plenty of time to think. In fact, you have so much time to indulge in your own lines of thought that the whole purpose of being out there, selling, can become secondary to roaming the streets. And when the hours—or days—go by and your weekly commission check stuns you with its paltriness, you either refocus on the “door-to-door” activity or you find another job.

I refocused, despite the certainty that being a vacuum cleaner salesman was the most atrocious waste of my time that I had ever been involved with (except for every classroom I’d ever been in.) I was caught between loathing the freaking job and stubborness at trying to prove I could rise to the challenge.

That morning had been typical: Many knocks, most on doors, some on me. One potential nibble turned sour when I mentioned that the vacuum cleaner I sold was Electrolux. The woman had apparently developed a phobia to the brand when some relative had dropped one on her foot back in the Johnson Administration. I asked her if it was Andrew. She gave me a quizzical look and said No, it was Maureen.

I drove to another neighborhood and chose one that was obviously filled with employed people. At 10:35 A.M., most of the houses looked empty, so I aimed at strolling around, leaving cards in doors for people to dispose of properly and just indulge in some daydreaming.

After parking near the corner, I walked down one side of the street, noticing the little signs of suburbia: slightly-tended lawns, tricycles, a motorbike tucked along a porch, the occasional dented mailbox, earth tone facades and no sense of personality to the entire tableau.

Coming down the opposite side of the street, my luck held: nobody answered. Four houses from my car, I stepped up to a marvelously carved door and knocked. As my arm came down, I felt a rustle in the pine needles behind me and to the right. I turned and barely got my hands up in time as a large furry thing slammed into me.

Grabbing the thing’s mouth, I pushed and twisted as I fell against the wall and to the ground. I—felt—a crackling snap then a huge thud as I hit the porch. For a couple of seconds, I held the thing tightly, my chest heaving it up and down. With a quick shove, I pushed the thing off of me and stood up, my heart hammering like a trapped frog.

It was a collie. Was.

I looked all around, a hint of panic thrumming in my chest. Nobody stirred. Hooking the dead dog with my foot, I shoved it across the porch and tucked it behind some bushes.

Thinking clearly, I left a card in the door, and the other three houses’ doors leading to my car. I got in and with a touch of restraint, I drove away. I never went back to that neighborhood and my sad door-to-door days came to an end.


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