You can be too polite.

For example, today the doorbell rang. I was actually in the middle of fixing the lock, so the door was ajar. The house was vulnerable, particularly as I couldn’t figure out how to put the deadlock I had rather rashly disassembled back together again.

The fact that the unexpected visitor had rung the doorbell told me I was dealing with a fairly polite person. Not a burglar, who would have just pushed the open door in and made off with the nearest item of any value. (Which, actually, might have taken them a while to find. But I’m digressing.)

No, it wasn’t a burglar. It was in fact a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now I’m not going to make a cheap crack about that being worse than a burglar, because let’s face it, it’s not. Jehovah’s Witnesses are annoying, but it’s hardly the same level of annoyance as having your gear nicked and someone shitting on your carpet. You just have to firmly – and politely – tell them “No thank you.” And close the door before they have a chance to say anything.

That’s all it takes. It’s easy. And they don’t take any of your stuff. And they don’t shit on your carpet. And you’re not being rude. It’s what they expect. So much so that not doing that would be rude.

So, anyway, I opened the door and there were two women on my doorstep. I mustn’t have seen the copy of Watchtower that the one in front was clutching, because at first I didn’t realise they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I think the main reason I was thrown was because the lead one immediately asked for my wife by name. My first thought was that she must be a colleague or maybe someone from my wife’s choir.

I told them that my wife was out.

“In that case, can we leave these for her?” said the lead JW, thrusting some of their booklets at me, all wrapped up in a copy of Watchtower. “She said she enjoys reading them.”

Now someone is lying here. Because I happen to know that my wife does not enjoy reading Watchtower. The only time she glanced at a copy, she was pretty much apoplectic with rage. Which is why, now, they go straight in the recycling bin, unread, every time.

I was about to tell the lead JW this very fact, when suddenly I thought better of it. If my wife says she enjoys reading them, then she must enjoy reading them. In fact, she has somehow managed to give this Jehovah’s Witness the impression that she enjoys reading them so much that she would like her to come round specially to drop some off when she has any new ones. Who am I to say she does not?

I took the booklets and even, yes, thanked the JWs for them. (Maybe that was me being too polite?)

I’ll let my wife put them in the recycling.


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