I lied to the woman and then I hung up on her.
I'm sure she was a nice woman. She had a soft-spoken Southern drawl and identified herself as calling from some Southern state. She was representing a Cause and she wanted me to mail out pleas for donations and be the collection point for my neighborhood.
The effort would take place in March and I lied and said I would be out of the country in March (Well, March and May have the same first letter, right?) and then when she said "Well, ma'am, we appreciate that...but....") I hung up on her.
And then I felt guilty about it. I could just imagine her calling me a bitch when she found herself speaking to dead air. And she'd have been right.
But I've done a number of these collection drives over the year, each one upsets me, and I'm getting old and cranky. I'm getting more like my antisocial father every day (I am, after all, only 4 years younger than he was when he died and he'd been antisocial for several years before his death!)
It's not that I don't want to help worthy organizations. I help lots of worthy organizations, when I can. But each time I become the "neighborhood leader" I have to deal with the reality of how unfriendly our neighborhood is to me...or maybe after all these years I'm still carrying around hurts that other people dropped years ago.
When the packet comes, I sit and look at it and I put it off and put it off and put it off so long that it finally gets buried and I find it months later. Really, dear lady, you are better getting someone who will actually do the job to volunteer!
I hate feeling a prisoner of my telephone. That by the sheer act of picking up the receiver too quickly, before I can check the caller ID, I have to listen to this lady beg me to do something I don't want to do. I'm sure this is the very cheapest way to run a fund drive. You get lots of people to pay for postage to each mail out a few notices or, better, drop them in their neighbors' mailboxes. Then you hope that your representative is honest enough to send any money collected to your office and all that will go towards research to help cure your own particular cause, whether it's heart or cancer, or AIDS, or diabetes, or ALS or multiple sclerosis or the heartbreak of psoriasis. Worthy causes all. All needing funds. All trying to get some local good-hearted person to help them collect money, and I'm a bitch because I don't want to be that good-hearted person any more.
Many years ago, I had Walt put a peep hole in the front door so I can decide if I want to answer the door or not. If someone is standing there with a clipboard, I won't answer. If someone has moved halfway down the driveway and is waiting for me, afraid that the dogs are going to get him/her, I don't answer the door.
The peep hole was necessitated by the visits of two very lovely Jehovah's Witness ladies, who thought that Walt was eagerly waiting to get the latest Watchtower. He was much more polite than I. He would stand there and speak with them, and then throw their magazines away. To their credit, they never tried to preach to me. They only wanted Walt but it seemed like they were showing up every couple of weeks while he was at the office and I just didn't want to deal with them any more.
It's strange that I feel bad for hiding from solicitors, however lofty their causes. I think that just because you own a phone or a house is no reason why you HAVE TO talk with people with whom you don't want to speak.
Yet, when I hung up on my caller today, I felt like a terrible bitch. Like maybe I would have been a better person to agree to do what she wanted me to...and then do what I usually do--forget all about it.