Friday, February 11, 2011

Knocks on the Head

This insurance would not at all be an option for me if I had to be pushy, pernicious or obnoxious. It takes a tough skin to withstand the initial distrust when explaining the purpose of my call, but even believing I offer something worthwhile, I will not over-stay my welcome.

It surprises me then when enthusiasm at the first meeting has generated a nearly completed application and invites a follow-up appointment, there are so many times a new friend will not even answer the phone to say they have reconsidered. My last vision of them might be all smiles and assurances, but some are not only unwilling to actually say “no”, but simply hang up as soon as they recognize my voice.

Caller ID saves me from more of those abrupt and painful endings, but actually turns out to be worse in a way because I so much want to believe they are just pre-occupied or not at home, not staring at the number and waiting for me to give up. When I knock on the door a week later, just to be absolutely sure, sometimes that is true and we have completed the contract. Sometimes, even with cars in the driveway, they would not even come to the door (always the optimist, I hope it was because I had surprised them in bed, interrupting a rare moment with no kids around, and consider going back to try again one last time).

As the tools for communication grow ever more sophisticated and simple, more at our fingertips (literally) in every moment (also literally), it surprises me that we seem less able to look each other in the eye and speak what truly is in our hearts. The fewer children our government leaves behind, the less we actually know how to read and articulate. As more information is received on 145 character tweets and U-tube videos download to our Ipods, common sense is slipping away, opening fewer doors and overwhelmed trying to change a tire.

I met a family last week who missed an appointment and agreed to reschedule. They welcomed me into their home and listened intently to my plan providing protection to their four children. Later, the husband said they were waiting for a paycheck to have me back, but invited me to call last night and keep trying because they could easily be distracted by the kids.

I did exactly as I understood I should do (the notes from each contact lie in front of me), but the mother called early this morning angry, demanding to get taken off my list. Irately, she claimed I was badgering and inappropriately insensitive (rewritten politely) and hung up before I could explain or even be sure who exactly I should remove.

Determined to be a para-legal (why not a lawyer?) and make her family more prosperous than the one in which she was raised, I applaud her ability and willingness to stand up and speak out clearly for herself and her family. My confusion aside that I had so misunderstood the signals, I am grateful to be misled and optimistic (in that case only) no longer.

Although there was no room for apology or negotiation, I am relieved to know where I stand and can move forward with few wounds to lick. Even as I notice my tendency to think it must truly be all my fault, that I really could be so obnoxious, possibly pernicious, certainly pushy, I am free to focus on that issue of my own insecurity directly and waste no more time knocking on a door that is unlikely to open farther.

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