One of the reasons that I love my dad is because he recognizes how blessed he is, and he shows his gratitude for it by being really nice to everybody. These qualities have generally served him well, unless he’s trying to sell you a car. Then he gets ripped off because he talks you down. Our home has been robbed three times and yet he and my mother make a hot breakfast for anyone who comes to the door asking for work, because they don’t have work but they do have food. A lot of people respect and love my dad, except for the gypsies who “borrowed” his guitar and never brought it back (and my dad was genuinely surprised). He is a lot of things that I am not, but this “nice” thing is a trait that occasionally rears its ugly head despite occasional inner protests. Today was one of those days where, so to speak, the gypsies stole my guitar.
In my defense (because I already need it), it was almost 100 degrees outside today. So when a young girl knocked on my door and asked if I would accept her gift of dish soap in exchange for my “quick” opinion of her vacuum cleaner I let her in. And quite honestly, I needed dish soap. The guy that I didn’t volunteer for came afterward, dripping sweat on my floor with a contraption the size of Michigan. “All right,” says the girl. “I’ll let Shawn show you the vacuum – I need to go help somebody else. It was nice to meet you.” Immediately I saw the writing on the wall, (okay, not quite immediately. Five minutes earlier would have been better.) This was like being set up on a bad blind date. When I asked him to clarify how long this would take he replied, “Oh, not long at all.” Forty- five minutes later when he was still demonstrating what an inadequate housekeeper I was, I said he needed to wrap it up and take a hike. “All right then, I’m gonna need the gift back. You only get the gift if I do the entire demonstration on your couch and mattress and I’ve only done your carpet.” “Are you kidding me?” I said. “Uh, no,” he said.
Now this is the part where I lost all traits inherited by my dad. I ranted about how he had lied to get in my door by saying this “wouldn’t take long at all”, how he and the other girl had practically ambushed their way into my house, and I was keeping the $3 bottle of dish soap thankyouverymuch. Of course, this all had to be reported to his boss via cell phone, which for all I know was his girlfriend at home. “Uh, hi. Sheila? Yeah, it looks like I’m getting kicked out for the first time today. They won’t let me do their couch and she’s keeping the gift. Is that going to be a problem?” I sat in silent disbelief that I had let these yahoos in my house. After he left I racked my brain to try and figure out how someone as paranoid as I managed to let a stranger in my house to show me a product that I didn’t need, wasting time I didn’t have, to please people I didn’t know. And then I remembered my dad, whose kindness and tolerance move beyond a bottle of soap to consider people’s feelings. Oh yeah, and then I remembered how I didn’t exactly do that.