I’m just out of the shower when I hear a knock knock knock rapping at the sliding glass door to the kitchen. Through a gap in the curtain I spy a pair of old ladies that appear to have been plucked from a suburban landscape of the 1950s and delivered to my doorstep by a time machine. Perhaps they are schoolmarms on a field trip to recapture truant youth. They stand so quietly and patiently. They knock again. Realization dawns. Honey, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are here!

I quickly analyze the circumstances.

Fortunately, while I’ve seen them I doubt they’ve seen me. I’m disinclined to religious conversion so I’d make a lousy host. The timing is not ideal to receive this type of visitors as my hair is dripping wet and I’m clutching a towel around my waist much too small to remain fastened if I make any sudden moves. I could easily duck out of sight and pretend I didn’t hear the knocking. But, I’m in a mood to be scandalous.

I open the door anyway.

When they see me their eyes dart rapidly, scanning my half naked teenage boy flesh through cat-eye glasses in a flash before their peepers zero in and settle on my face. Their devout gaze remains locked for several awkward moments of mostly one-sided conversation. I’m embarrassed and annoyed they’ve turned the tables on me. I play the only card I have left and let go of the towel.

Bracing for their shrieks at the sight of my full frontal assault on their virginal eyes, I stand before them in triumph. I expect them to beat the dirt with their sensible shoes. But, they just stare at me with expressions that reveal nothing, eyes fixed on my face as they soldier on with Jesus in their hearts. I am undone as my plan to scandalize them has backfired monumentally.

I withdraw in shame, mumbling a lame apology for accidentally flashing them, and close the door on their inscrutable faces.

~ Eugene, Oregon (1980)