I have a condition called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, and that often means I wind up sleeping during the day, and being awake at night. This schedule has its negative aspects. One of them is the fact that I’m asleep while everyone else is going about their business.
Few things can awaken the irrational beast in me faster than someone knocking on my door when I’m asleep. First, it scares me, and so that’s what is known as a rude awakening. Who likes waking up scared?
Knocks on the door have always scared me, even when I’m awake. I’ve tried to figure out the psychological root of this, but all I can come up with is that it somehow represents a stranger, insisting on entering my space, without prior written consent. . .One would think I had been traumatized by answering a door and finding some guy in a hockey mask who tried to hack me in half. But nothing like that has ever happened to me. Unless I blocked it out. I guess I could have traumatic amnesia. But then, if I can’t remember it, it couldn’t have been that traumatic, I am guessing.
Anyway, for whatever reason, knocks on my door set my heart to hammering, and I always run upstairs to look out the window with a view overlooking my front porch.
I learned a long time ago that the decision to answer the door depended strongly on who it was. Since I don’t have any local friends (I didn’t say “no friends” I said “no LOCAL friends”–just in case you think I’m friendless and decide to come visit me. . .I won’t answer the door, you know. Mmm. . ..maybe that’s why I don’t have any friends. I mean, no local friends).
Peeking out the window is a much less extreme reaction than what I used to do. I used to run to the bedroom to get my gun and have it behind my back with the safety off when I opened the door. Now I just look out the window and usually there’s no need for the gun, because I can see it’s someone I don’t know and don’t want to open the door to, anyway.
Some time ago, it occurred to me that I am under no obligation to open the door, just because someone knocked. It’s like a Pavlovian response that stems from our need to follow some universally understood pattern: knock on door/open door. But after giving this some thought, I recognized a self-empowering truth: I don’t have to answer.
And Experience has shown that I don’t usually know who they are, anyway, and if I don’t know them, they are probably some local church-goer who wishes to save my soul from its current trajectory to an eternal fiery furnace for which there is no evidence. I used to toy with these people, by answering the door and when they asked if I went to church, or if I’d accepted Jesus as my personal savior, I offered some scandalous and disrespectful retort designed to spin them into spiritual confusion. (Something like “No, I can’t accept Jesus as my personal savior, because Satan is my deity of choice, and he doesn’t like Jesus very much.” Or I’ll go to the door with a ketchup-smeared chef’s knife in my hand and growl, “Can’t you see that I’m in the middle of an important ritual?”
I eventually lost interest in this little game, just like cats who play with a mouse until it stops moving, and then it’s no fun anymore. These preachy types were just like another mouse. Or maybe more like lemmings. Either way, they eventually just became aggravating. It wasn’t worth me getting my sleep disturbed. And often, the knock interrupted some erotic dream which I was enjoying immensely and would never be able to rejoin when I climbed back in bed.
So I was finally forced to post a sign at my door, which read,
IF I don’t know you, don’t knock.
This goes for church-people too.
Knock, and the door won’t be opened to you.
A stranger is just a person I haven’t SHOT yet.
I added a little graphic of a hand holding a gun.
I haven’t heard a knock since. Although I did find a package that the UPS girl had quietly left for me yesterday.
She didn’t knock.
I might need to order some more black candles and a sacrificial dagger.
Maybe I should add an addendum that package delivery people were exempt from a bullet.