These days, when the doorbell rings, it's usually the mail carrier or UPS delivering a package (usually fulfillment from the Amazon, a habit I am trying to break).
But sometimes it's young people trying to raise money by what I consider spurious means. Or members of a religious group that I am definitely not interested in. Or kids selling raffle tickets or some such for school fund-raisers.
So when the doorbell rings in the middle of the day, I generally don't answer. If it's a package, it will sit there patiently until I'm ready to check. (I have nothing against legitimate fund-raising, but I'm not interested in listening to the song-and-dance and then inspecting the documentation to figure out if it is. More often than not, it seems, it is not.)
Today my defenses were down: the doorbell rang, and I went to the door. So did Milo, barking furiously, as he does—not in rage or even any semblance of protection, but just because that's what he does. (We are not very good trainers: I'd really prefer it if he didn't bark at everyone who approaches the house, but can an old dog—meaning me, practicing consistency in reward follow-through—learn new tricks?)
It was a youngish woman new to the neighborhood starting off a career as a financial advisor, trying to drum up business. I told her we already work with someone, and she very nicely said, okay, thanks, and started off to the next house. I wished her luck. She then turned and said, "And thanks for opening the door."
That struck me as poignant: she must have encountered a lot of silent houses. Of course, many were no doubt unresponsive because the residents work or go to school. But I bet not a few inhabitants didn't respond because it was a stranger at the door. Wanting God knows what.
It made me sad, this unfriendly, xenophobic society we live in . . .
And for once, I'm glad I answered the door.