Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alternative Signs

By Nichole Giles

Last week I told a story about a politician who—ignoring my clearly posted no soliciting sign—interrupted me in the middle of a writing streak. Sadly, he was not the only solicitor to ring my doorbell in the last two weeks. He was the only one for whom the door was answered though.

That’s right, I stuck to my own advice. But the consistent and timely—as they always know just the right time to knock—visits have given me cause to wonder. Can my sign really be seen as well as I thought? I decided to try an experiment.

Leaving through my garage door, I went to the sidewalk and turned to face my house. Even with my aging, computer-stressed eyes, I could read the sign—without glasses. I walked slowly along the sidewalk to the front door, and again, the sign was clear and visible. Standing on the front porch, I could not imagine not seeing the sign. It’s posted only inches from the doorbell.

Then I wondered something different. Perhaps the sales people chose to ignore my sign because I was clearly visible through the window. First, I can see the sidewalk through a fairly large window in my den, and then I can see the front porch through a smaller, circular window—also in my den. It’s the neighborhood from two different angles. From the big window, I can see all the way down the street. So, it goes without saying that if I can see them, they can see me.

I wonder what I look like to someone standing on the sidewalk outside. That’s an experiment I haven’t tried yet, since I can’t both sit inside and walk outside to see myself sitting inside. That would be impossible, unless I was living in a fantasy world with little bottles that said “drink me” and white rabbits that were late for tea parties. Or maybe at a wizarding school in England whose headmaster was willing to give me a time turner so I could actually be in two places at once. Hm. Maybe I should take a little trip?

Anyway, the point is, I started wondering if I need to make a new sign. A big bold sign. But what would I have it say? I considered the usual slogans: Beware of dogs, or Trespassers will be prosecuted. But, being a writer, nothing that boring would ever do. My thoughts became more creative, things like, Solicitors are trespassers, and will be left to the mercy of the neighborhood kids, and Our dog loves the taste of trespassers. Then I considered covering my door in police crime tape with Do Not Enter signs all over the place. But that might bring the Relief Society over with dinner—and then I’d have some explaining to do.

A little more thought brought up Vampires sleeping, do not disturb if you value your blood. I also considered painting a skull and crossbones on my front door. That might work. I could always put up an illiteracy campaign sign above my no soliciting sign. The problem is, if the person truly cannot read, how would they know what it said?

After a great deal of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that the truth might be my best defense. My new sign is going to say: Beware of Writer—Lives at Stake. And then I’ll politely post my working hours and request that visitors come back some other time. That way, just because people can see me pounding away at my computer in my little room—even though I work on a folding table instead of an actual desk—they might realize I’m not just playing solitaire and checking my email.

I am a writer, and I’m busy! See the sign?

Oh, and for the politicians that continue to attempt to interrupt my work so they can introduce themselves I can only say this. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Ignoring the silent requests of the voters does not give them cause to cast a vote in your favor. Think about it.


Keith Fisher said...

you could say knock at your own risk. those you want to knock will still knock.

My problem is that people have no patience. I get up and rush to the door to find the person who knocked is gone. That is aggrivating. It also irks me to find someone called but didn't leave a message on the machine. Whatever they interrupted my sleep for (day sleeper) is not important enough to leave a message?

Tristi Pinkston said...

I dunno -- free dinner from the Relief Society sounds pretty good to me. :)

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

I agree. I agree. I hate door and phone solicitors at any time. The only ones I can tolerate are the cute little kids with fundraisers in hand--and I don't particularly like those, either. BTW, I love your sign idea. Maybe you SHOULD make it--even sell it. Maybe at the next writer's conference? I bet you'd make money.