It is Wednesday. I have decided that I will work in my front room, right in front of my bay window. I peer through the heavy wooden blinds to take in the scenery and sunshine. I ready my limbs to draw up the blinds to let in some of the beautiful Bay sunshine. I spot about ten people, each of them a decade or more past middle age. All women, but representative of all the races. I am surprised at such a mix, but it is the Bay; diversity is our daily cup-of-tea. I wonder if a tour bus has dropped them off in the wrong neighborhood. I live a block from the fantastic Piedmont Avenue lineup of stores and eateries. I consider opening my door and asking if they need directions. As I watch, they congregate around my staircase as though deciding whether or not to tackle my house. For a split second I wonder if my landlord has put the house on the market without telling me and these are potential buyers. I panic. I must change from these raggedy Pjs and be decent before they come up those 16 steps. I rush to the bedroom to change.
As I return from the bedroom in what I consider decent, I hear footsteps. The sound of clogs on the feet of a heavy-set person. I count. When the footsteps reach 12, its owner comes into view. I peek to see which of the races has dared to brave my steps. My peephole reveals a 60-ish woman of European decent as she comes up the 13th step. I move over to my front window again and see the huddle nodding and gesturing animatedly. I watch the Asian/Asian-decent lady knock on my landlord’s door downstairs. It seems the entire neighborhood is empty of inhabitants. Or…perhaps people know not to answer doorbells from huddles of past-middle-age women. Not once in my panicked state does it occur to me that these humans are of the proselytizing variety until I see the infamous pamphlet waved by one of the women.
My doorbell rings.
I jump because I have been consumed with studying the huddle on the sidewalk.
I debate whether or not to open my door. I decide that I will use this opportunity to proselytize as well. I open the door. She smiles sweetly as older white women are want to do when they come upon kinky-haired-afro young adults.
“Why hello there honey! Are you home alone?”
“Hi. How may I help you?” I intone, making sure to mimic her own, ignoring her insulting question.
“May we come in? We’d like to talk to you about Jesus Christ, our lord and savior.”
“We?” I feign ignorance about her huddle waiting for her eagerly at the bottom of the stairs.
“Yeah. We are Jehovah’s Witnesses and we’d like to visit with you a while.”
“I’m agnostic!” I declare to her even as she beckons to a few more women to join her.
Two Black women disband from the huddle as if the one at my door sent them a special code.
“I don’t want to talk,” I say as I eye the other two women tackle my steps.
“But why not honey? Jesus died for you and me. We just want to share how wonderful that makes us feel.”
“Because Jesus was a prophet just like Audre Lorde, June Jordan, or Angela Davis. Nothing more!”
“Ok. If you won’t let us in, can we talk out here?” she asks as her face falls and she communicates in Morse Code to the Black ladies on the 10th step. They stop.
“Nope. Would you like to hear about Audre Lorde? What an amazing poet and warrior she was? How she was before her times? How she died?”
“No honey, Jesus is the son of God. Who are these people you speak of?”
“Ok. So was Audre Lorde…well, daughter I guess.”
“It seems you are not open to hearing the Good News today. Here are some pamphlets for later when you are feeling more receptive.” She remains clutching the pamphlets when I make no effort to reach for them.
“Would you ladies like a copy of Sister Outsider or Zami? I keep extra ones on hand especially for days like this.”
“God bless you!” she says as she hurries down the stairs almost running into the Black ladies who are on step 4 on their defeated journey down.
“Have an erotic day ladies!” I yell after them as they reach the bottom.
I shut my door and return to work, victorious.