November 20, 2006

Would You Rather: In the 'hood

Would you rather live in a neighborhood where:

  • All the other families belonged to the same religion, but you don’t belong. About once a week you run into people evangelizing for their religion at your front door, despite your polite and not-so-polite attempts to dissuade them (it is part of their religion that they must keep attempting to convert you). Or…
  • A number of the yards in the neighborhood were unkept to the point of having tall weeds, green swimming pools, cars up on blocks, and garbage. At least once per week you can smell the garbage when the wind shifts.
Posted by James at November 20, 2006 8:39 AM
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what if evangilisation === garbage to you? aren't they the same choice?

how about adding:

Would you rather wake up to the sound of a bus idling outside your house every morning. (on a cold morning the idle is set to high and it practically vibrates your whole house) I wake up to that everymorning... :P

Well I guess I didn't answer.

Since I'm more sensetive to smell and I figure I can always install a trap door on my front stoop I'd prefer A.

Posted by: Hooligan at November 20, 2006 9:08 AM

Seriously, what's the difference?

I guess I'll go with A. I can always tell an evangelical to shut up. I can't make them mow their lawn. And I wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood where every yard looked like... uh... mine. ;-)

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 20, 2006 9:49 AM

Hmm. Toughest question you've done so far. :)

I'll take option B and get a cat to deal with the inevitable vermin, if you promise that there won't be any evangelists. I've pretty much lived in neighborhoods like B before, and I'd rather that than be harassed.

If I'm still going to get evangelists in option B, then I might as well go with A. I'll disconnect the doorbell and put foam rubber padding on my front door. If someone's visiting me they can call first and I will keep a lookout for them, or leave the door unlocked, or something. As for deliveries... I suppose the UPS guy will leave it at my neighbor's house and then I'll have to go over there and get recruited anyway.

Posted by: Julie at November 20, 2006 10:03 AM

Ok, Julie. I promise! Nobody comes to bother you in option B.

And in both cases your neighbors are friendly. They just have their particular habits.

Posted by: James at November 20, 2006 10:09 AM

A. I already don't answer my phone, so it's not a big deal to stop answering the door.

Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at November 20, 2006 10:24 AM

This reminds me of some of the "evaluate your colleague" things that we have to do when our colleagues take professional improvement classes. They go something like this:

Which better describes your colleague?:
  1. When my colleague takes on a project, she completes it to the best of her ability.
  2. My colleague is effective at interacting with her peers.
Uh... Those are the choices? Uh...

And so here's the thing:

  1. Fetid surroundings do not necessarily keep away the nut-jobs.
  2. It actually is not impossible to drive away the nut-jobs if you're willing to offend them sufficiently.
In college, we dealt with the Crossroads Church of Christ (I think it was not accidental that "CCC" is orthographically related to "KKK"), and many complained that it was impossible to get rid of them. I found, though, that consistently and firmly recommending incestuous maternal relationships... was quite effective in getting them to stop coming by and inviting me to their "Soul Talks".

Of course, I had to be willing to be horridly offensive to them. I didn't start out that way, but it was the only thing that worked.

More currently, well, there's a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness less than a mile from my house. When I first moved in, they came by a few times. I'm not sure why they stopped — I was prepared to come to the door naked and holding a whip, but that was never necessary. Hm.

Posted by: Barry Leiba at November 20, 2006 10:31 AM

MJ: regardless of whether you answer the door or not, you encounter them evangelizing you face to face once a week at your front door. When you're leaving to go somewhere, for example, or arriving from somewhere.

You definitely must face them once per week.

Posted by: James at November 20, 2006 10:34 AM

I find telling people they are trespassing and you'll spray them with a garden hose if they don't leave you're property works well so I'll choose A. We pretty much live in a neiborhood where wdon't interact with the neighbors aside from an occasional friendly wave anyway.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at November 20, 2006 10:36 AM

Did I really say You're. Duh. I really need to read these things before hitting post.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at November 20, 2006 10:38 AM

Bob speaks of a real-life scenario.

Many years ago, my sister was over and the three of us were sitting in the back yard when I watched a car pass my house, park, and saw two fresh-faced young men get out. I watched them make their way up the street and sensed a grand opportunity that may never come my way again.

I went in the house, shut and locked the front door, and returned to the back yard, assuming they'd come back when no one came to the door, but they heard voices. I was prepared to hose them if they came to proselytize.

Sadly, they never came to my house.

Now, to my answer: I would choose A and spend the money to have a tasteful iron fence and gate put around the perimeter of my property (or I might indulge my fantasy of digging a man trap).

Posted by: Patti M. at November 20, 2006 10:54 AM

I think I would take the evangelicals over the yuck. One is a health hazard and the other is just annoying, and if people are coming to my door to start the conversation, then it's their choice to hear my answer. So I don't mind saying things to them that I would never say to a friend.

Posted by: Maggie at November 20, 2006 10:57 AM

Maggie, they're going to come over every week, regardless of what you say. I think you're going to need a man trap before long.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 20, 2006 11:10 AM

Don't you think it would turn into a sort of game? Every week? It would get silly. And there's nothing to say you can't just walk into your house and shut the door, or go on weeding your garden without speaking, perhaps accidentally spraying dirt in their face from time to time. I've certainly never dealt with anything like a once a week assault, but I've dealt with them several times before. There isn't much they can say to "I'm an atheist." One lady said, "When did you turn from God?" and I said, "I didn't -- there is no God." And then she said something about hope, and I said, "You don't need God to have hope," and she left. Once you lose your inhibition to be honest and to say something that might offend (and I know you wouldn't have any such inhibitions ;-), it's easy.

Posted by: Maggie at November 20, 2006 11:17 AM

While I would indeed have no qualms about laying it on the line with a fudie, I would be aggravated by having to do it each and every week, week in, week out.

That's why I would have to put up a fence, else the desire to kill would be too strong to suppress, and I'll be damned if I'm going to jail over some bible-thumping jackass.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 20, 2006 11:34 AM

Yeah, I'd pick the evangelists and I'd try to have fun with it. I bet I could.

Posted by: James at November 20, 2006 11:52 AM

If you want evangelists to go away, speak their language. Tell them if they come back you will put a hex on them. Tell them your front porch has a dark charm on it such that all who stand there capture the attention of satan.

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 20, 2006 11:55 AM

The first few visits from evangelists would bother me but like Maggie I would stop caring after a while if I hurt their feelings. The regular practice would certainly help me summarize my feelings about religion more succinctly.

It would be nice to not have to worry about low property values due to the squalid condition of my neighbors' homes. When I moved out of the neighboorhood I would try to sell my house to a member of a rival evangelical faith so they would spend all their time pestering and canceling each other out.

Posted by: Mike at November 20, 2006 11:55 AM

I'm not concerned about speaking to the evangelists. It's the door-knocking that really annoys me. Especially when I'm asleep.

Posted by: Julie at November 20, 2006 12:03 PM

Mike, we had a situation like that in the neighborhood where I grew up.

One neighbor was born again, and if any religious folks knocked on our door, we would tell them we weren't interested, but we believed Mrs. Frost would like to chat with them, so why don't they pop on down to the house on the far corner of the street? Super.

She would invite them in and that would be the end of it. Kind of like a spider-and-fly deal.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 20, 2006 12:15 PM

I might as well go with the evangelists because I am the neighbor with the unkept yard!

Posted by: Lefty at November 20, 2006 1:25 PM

I like screwing around with very relgious folks. When I lived in New Bedford, it was fun playing with Jehovah's Witness folks the day after a really awesome party.

I'd pick number 1, because it has far more potential for fun.

Posted by: Derek at November 20, 2006 2:46 PM

I used to work with a guy who said his mother would try to convert people who came to her door. Sort of an armchair evangelist.

Posted by: Julie at November 20, 2006 2:54 PM

My first inpulse was to choose filth. But it would be fun to answer the door with my boyfriend's penis in my mouth. That should learn 'em.

Posted by: woneffe at November 20, 2006 11:11 PM

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