July 24, 2021

Pest Control

A door-to-door salesman knocked on our door. I didn't know that before I got up to open it, of course, and was in the middle of a chess game online with limited time to play. I thought I'd open the door to my neighbor asking for something or maybe even bringing my wife, who just broke her foot, some kind of cake or pie. Instead, a blond mesomorph in a tight-fitting white polo was there.

"You must be the homeowner," he said, though I was dressed in running shorts and a high viz shirt reading "TRAIL CREW." I am now old enough that no one mistakes me for just another roommate. I assented, missing my first opportunity to get out of the conversation.

Our solicitor whipped out a laminated card depicted all manner of insects. I scanned it quickly, but was distracted to see a hovercraft at the bottom of our stairs. The kid was in excellent shape, yet went around door knocking using this? What kind of nightmare world is it when door-to-door salesmen don't even have to get tired?

He asked if we currently used someone for pests. The true answer is I purchase pest control chemicals on Amazon and then use them according to their instructions, and even then it's only for a limited set of bugs. Most of them, like centipedes and spiders, we let live.

I answered no, missing my second opportunity to bail out.

He said their trucks are in the area -- that's why he is soliciting now, you see -- and in retrospect I wonder what would have happened if I said bring the truck on down right now! The guys are always in the area, always working already. These guys are everywhere.

He told me my neighbors have signed up for his service. Little did he know that is a strong contraindicator -- I have seen many of my neighbors do incredibly foolish things.

I kept looking back at his Segue-like device. I tried to make a move in chess. The salesman initiated a fist bump with me. It was starting to feel like an out of control dream.

"Thank you, but I am not interested." He said something to try to overcome my objection -- salesman speak for annoying the shit out of me. "I understand you are supposed to keep going after I say no, but I am telling you we are done here and you can move on to the next house. You did a good job." He continued. I didn't hear what he said, but he was becoming unhappy. Over his pleas, I closed the door saying "I'm closing the door now. Bye!"

My heart was racing; I am not unwilling to engage in confrontation, but my body does not like it. I checked my phone and to my surprise, I had won the chess game. My opponent resigned.