Saturday, February 27, 2010

Knock-Knock. Who's There?


Living on the corner of one of Austin's busiest streets has its challenges. There are the booming bass car stereos thump-thumping past at all hours of the day and night, the loud motorcycles and modified car engines speeding by (and sometimes shaking) the bedroom windows, the honking of car horns, idling traffic on weekdays between 3:15 and 5:30 PM, the rooster across the street who crows at odd hours -- and that's just the noises. We also get more than our fair share of door-to-door solicitors selling (nonexistent, outrageously expensive) magazine subscriptions, political supporters spreading the word about their candidate or cause, people seeking donations for some legitimate charities and some questionable charities, Boy Scouts selling mulch (which was a welcome sales pitch - bought eight bags), assorted Jehovah's Witnesses, one lady selling sad string-art (not making this up) and a few confused people who thought our house was for rent. After Chad's car got side-swiped back in December, one bold soul knocked on the door offering his car-fixing services.

Once an unscheduled handyman showed up at our house in his clearly marked company vehicle wearing his company uniform. When I politely told him I wasn't expecting a handyman, he claimed he had the wrong house. This was shortly after our house was robbed, so of course I got a bit paranoid wondering if he was casing our house to see which easily-pawned items we might have replaced.

Yesterday had to be the oddest door-knocker during our habitation of the 1952 house. At noon, a man in full military fatigues stood on the stoop. Janie-dog (fifty-five pounds of mixed-breed protective services) accompanied me to the door. The man (hopefully a legitimate member of the military?) said he was sorry to bother me, but that some road debris had lodged itself under the front of his SUV. He asked to borrow a serrated knife. (All the better to stab me with?! my inner Little Red Riding Hood wondered.) Our house sits near one of the main routes to the military reserves base. He was in full fatigues with his name on his chest, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I brought him an old, short blade serrated knife. He thanked me and said he'd leave the knife on the front stoop when he was done. I locked the door tight behind him, just in case. He left the knife as promised when he was done. I don't trust an unscheduled handyman in company car and uniform, but I do trust a young man in military fatigues who seems worried that he's running late.

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