I was in a crabby mood at about 5:45 yesterday evening as we returned from an afternoon at the pool. Unloading bags from the car and picking up chip bags and crumbs from the back seat, muttering about the filth, I heard a female voice say "hello." I ignored it, because I thought it was a passerby answering her cell phone. But when she said my name, I looked up.
It was a woman in an "Environment New Jersey" t-shirt, the same persistent canvasser that inspired me to write the piece that started this blog and eventually made its way into the Complaint Box section of The New York Times. Was I having a nightmare?
"Christina?" she repeated.
"Yes," I said. "And no. No, I'm not interested."
My children were standing right there, horrified. They had spent the morning at our church's Peace Camp, learning to behave more peacefully. As had I.
"We just want to thank you for your past support," she said, a bit of a whine in her voice.
"I don't want to be thanked," I said. "I just want you guys to stop coming."
"We just knock on all the doors in town," she said defensively, marking something on her clipboard. (Maybe: "Insane, potentially perimenopausal, woman at this address.")
"I know you do," I said, slamming the car door. "And it's really annoying."
"Well, that's valid," she said, and went on to harass my neighbor.