Monday, December 10, 2007

two on the porch

They stood on my front porch, two fresh scrubbed young lads, one in what looked like a knock off Member's Only jacket, both in black pants, white shirts, black ties. Both wore badges alerting me to their elder status in the Church of Something or Other. The title of elder, I daresay, was quite unearned on my porch, as I certainly have at least fifteen years on the oldest.

I learn through our conversation that I have a talker and a non talker. As the talk plays out, non talker begins to make me nervous. He's visibly tensing up at points, and I can almost sense a youthful desire to be offended and possibly have to do something about it.

"We're new to the neighborhood," the talker of the pair began. I thought immediately of a particular Myspace spam in which the spammer attempts to convince me that they are a newly arrived and quite sexy girl who enjoys both chatting as well as being naughty on a webcam. Oh how misguided that attempt is, and in a sense, these fellows are about to hit a very similar sort of block in their attempt to sell me their product. Talker of the pair continues, "How long have you lived here?"

I allow them to engage me in conversation, knowing full well it will lead to nothing. I should just run them off to the next house, which I've been doing lately. If it's nice old ladies I allow them to think their efforts are untimely so that I don't have hurt old ladies on my conscience. The kids I'm just blunt with usually, treating them more like a telemarketer.

We segue into video games, as they've seen through the doors that the boys are in fact playing video games, one of the Twisted Metal series, in fact, which seems to delight them. They make appropriate noises about children, seeming for whatever reason wowed that I've got such.

I don't know how exactly we get to religion, but I lead my half of the conversation giving them the knowledge that I don't believe in god. Well, they'd love to come inside and talk about how their belief can make my life better. I decline.

I don't tell them that they'd never find themselves in my house, but I know that, given the right mood, I'd be willing to engage them in some amount of conversation on the porch. I'm not going to do it now, because I left my cigarettes by the back door, and I'm not walking all the way back just so I can take snide potshots at a couple of missionaries, which I don't tell them either. It sounds fun, but no.

Talker of the pair really wants to push this. Maybe he sniffs conversion in the air, though all I smell are my armpits. I finally just let him have it. I'm familiar with the Bible. I know about Jesus, and it's not him I have a problem with. But I don't avoid black cats or walking under ladders, and I don't worry about people's souls slipping out when they sneeze or whether ceiling cat sees what I do in the shower.

Oh, but they have something else for me, because they have new interpretations. And of course I ask, "Oh, you mean Joseph Smith?" probably smirking maybe a little. I can't help but thing of the magic obsidian slabs he unearthed in outer Mongolia.

"Yes, have you read the book of Mormon?" Again, talker of the pair is speaking. My mention of Joseph Smith gave me that hint of non talker perhaps tensing up. I know how people can get when you mess with their heads, so I finally decide I'm done.

"Look, guys, thanks for coming by, and good luck with this, but I've got to get back inside. Stay out of traffic."