We don't open our doors around here

In my last house, I met my neighbour almost instantly. I was hanging clothes out in the back yard and she was in her - adjoining - yard, having a cigarette. She introduced herself, told me not to lock my bicycle out front, and said, "And we don't open our doors around here." I'm from the country, where we open our doors. It could be the neighbour looking for a pint of milk, or someone needing to make a phonecall or, less likely, the postman, with a package.

"There were a few incidents," said she, "where people opened their doors and, well . . ." I could imagine how it ended up. "So just don't open your door," she said, and smiled. "Unless you know who it is!"

*****

I had the day off today (all the better to receive bad news with). Someone knocked at the door at around 11am; I got up to answer it. My housemate objected. "Oh I never answer the door," he said, with the tone of voice of someone who's thinking, "oh you'll get what's coming to you".

It was a man with a brochure and a blue suit. "The weather's got very nice, hasn't it?" he asked. I was wary, seeing as we don't open the doors around here, usually, so I responded with, "Can I help you?" It was curt but, I felt, to the point. And helpful! I wanted to help him. "Well I wanted to give you this . . ." he began, and handed me a leaflet emblazoned with the words "Does God Care About You?"

"Well," I said. "Obviously he doesn't, because if he did, you'd be the postman, and you'd have some sort of package that I really want, and your suit wouldn't be offending my eyes in such a fashion and, furthermore, you'd be in your mid-twenties with prominent canines and no weird, hidden Star Wars collection."

I didn't say that. I said, "We're not religious, but thank you", and shut the door in his face.