Friday afternoon I grabbed a stack of “A Quest for Camelot” newsletters and walked over to the front of our neighborhood, to the house I pass most often as we drive in and out of here. I was a little excited, mostly anxious, about knocking on all these strange doors. I was jumping into the Camelot quest for the first time. I rang 21 doorbells that day, and today I got up to a total of 66, so I’ve completed 29% my goal of knocking on all of the 227 doors in this neighborhood.
What happened at the first door (shown in the picture above) foreshadowed what would occur in 73% of my interactions on my neighbors’ front porches: the experience begins and ends with the knock. So, armed with my newsletter, I was prepared for this contingency. I folded them to show the title first, so that the neighbor would possibly recognize the name of his or her neighborhood, Camelot, and not throw away the letter immediately.
At several of the homes there were obviously people inside. Some people peered at me through a parted curtain and walked away, and others carried on talking in a different language and opted not to answer the door. Living in a neighborhood with a large Asian population, I am not surprised that they didn’t answer their doors often. One woman answered, smiled, said, “No English,” but continued to stand there civilly with me while I briefly tried to pantomime my little speech before thanking her and leaving the letter in her hands. I have found that if there are slippers and some kind of cement or ceramic toad/lion/dragon figure on the porch, no one is answering that door. The combination of simply not being home and the culture and language barriers have made this theory 100% accurate so far. We’ll see if it stands when I finish.
Of the 18 people I did speak with, two were suspicious and dismissive and spoke to me through their closed door, a few were reserved but nice, and 14 were between friendly and really friendly. All things considered, though I’m still anxious about how much more of this I have to do (cold door-knocking is just plain nerve-racking, but I think it’s doing me some good), it has been a good run so far. I have not met any blatant misanthropes, and I’ve met 14 nice people I probably would never have spoken to had I not knocked on their doors.
At this point, then, the glass is definitely mostly full. Let’s hope it stays that way as I try to get the rest of these newsletters hand-delivered by the end of the month!