There are several ways to gain entrance to my house. Six, in fact (not counting several convenient but unorthodox window options). There are several ways to gain the attention of the inhabitants of my house if you need to gain admittance, or, if, say, it is your job to place items into the hands of said inhabitants. Conveniently, these attention-getting devices are all placed right next to the most obvious entrance, all in an easy-to-see row.
There are two electric doorbells and an old fashioned crank doorbell that sounds like the ringing of the rotary phone that we had when I was a kid. It’s fun to ring. My kids do it all the time.
So say that you were, for example, a person whose livelihood depended on your timely taking various things to various locations and placing these things into the hands of people waiting for them. How would you gain the attention of the inhabitants of my house?
Obviously the answer is: show up first thing in the morning and bash your fist on the side of the house Big Bad Wolf style. Why use any conveniently placed attention-getters? Then, before any baffled inhabitants can stumble awake Chicken Little style (“The sky is falling! It’s the end of the world as we know it!”), abandon the most obvious entrance and brave the broken stairs up to the second floor by the side of the house to battering ram on that door. By the time you get back safely to the ground, the baffled inhabitants are sure to have pants on and be ready to receive the package that was so important it was necessary to stage the audio equivalent of World War III.
“That staircase is not a good idea,” I sleepily admonished as I opened the door, “and… there are doorbells right there,” I gestured two inches to my right with the package he had thrust into my hands.
If you loved your job enough to put forth that much effort to gain the attention of the inhabitants of a house, how would you respond? Would you say, “I’ll keep that in mind, thanks for the tip.” Would you say, “Oh, wow, I totally didn’t see them; sorry for startling you.” Or would you say in an annoyed tone, “Does the person on the label live here? Good, that’s all I need to know,” and walk away? (He’d already started out the morning with a Big Bad Wolf motif, he probably just figured he should end with some huffing and puffing.)
Since I was already up, I went about my day, slowly recovering from the shell-shock of being violently frightened awake.
That afternoon, the doorbell rang.
Surprisingly, it got my attention.
I went to the door and saw a package sitting on the threshold and a different brown-uniformed person than the one who had launched an attack on my home that morning walking toward a big truck idling on the street.
“Ringing the doorbell; what a strange idea!” I exclaimed to myself as I picked up the package.
“What?” the UPS guy called, turning around.
“Thank you!” I yelled back, giving him a wave.
“You’re welcome!” he said, waving back.
I’ll let you guess which interaction I preferred.
Maybe the next time we move it’ll have to be into a house with a huge, obvious doorbell, maybe with a big blinking sign to make sure no one misses it. Although, I guess since no UPS person has missed our normal doorbells since, maybe we should just make sure to move into a house made of brick.