Salesmen not allowed

Running errands for my mother, I came across an apartment complex (complete with kids on bicycles and adults walking in circles wearing sneakers and purposeful looks) with the sign “Salesmen not allowed”.

Much as I would like to say my first job was at a fabulous company more than a hundred years old, the first job that paid me was something far less glamorous. I walked from door to door in a relatively wealthy suburb, trying to get people to sign petitions for clean water (and hopefully get them to donate some money while at it). It happens, I was told; the first time someone slammed their door on my face, or when they rudely informed me they couldn’t care less about who I was representing. Why do you insist on ruining our dinner, they asked me. (I am sorry?)

My parents need not know about this, I reasoned. I could hear them as though they were next to me (well, not my father, he is a quiet man). But my mother:

Why are you doing this?

Come back home.

Do you want us to send you money? (NO!)

72 dollars for a day of dragging my feet to every house on the map handed out to me. To tell you the truth, I felt rich and poor all at once.

Now somebody take that sign off.


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