Let me preface this by sharing that I am open to whatever your belief system is or in some cases is not.
Whatever gives you peace and direction is good with me, but what I abhor is when folks become sanctimonious and aggressive in assuming that I must share the same belief system as they do.
For the last few months, I have been innundated by what I refer to as the "drive-by saints." You know, the folks who show up on the weekends or on a weekday evening after you are finally home after working like a dog all day then they want to take up an hour of the 3.5 hours you have to yourself before going to bed and getting up to start the grueling process of conformity all over again. Really?
It all started last month when I was on my way out to an early Saturday morning appointment and I heard a knock at my door. Now, all of my friends and family know that unless they are being inducted into the witness protection program and this is their last chance to say farewell, then you are not going to just show up at my spot unannounced.
I looked through the peep hole and there is this older black couple looking stern. I open the door to both greet and exit and she immediately starts her pitch. "Good morning, do you have a few minutes to discuss your faith?"
I politely reply "No, sorry I am on my way to an appoinment."
"Well, can I leave this pamphlet with you and I can come back another time. When is a good time?" the saint asks. I take the pamphlet and brush past them to continue down the stairs while explaining over my shoulder that I am busy with an erratic schedule. I exhale — knowing I have escaped the first step of indoctrination — but I see them still standing in front of my door looking at each other in some weird X Files exchange that reads, "This one can be assimilated." I shrug it off and head to my appointment.
I remember reading that ants will leave an invisible pheromone trail that allows other ants to follow them to food, water, shelter or even receive messages in the scent. I think my front door was smeared with some kind of drive-by saints pheromone that told other saints there was a potential heathen ripe for the picking inside. Because the saints activity really increased after that encounter.
The next Saturday, it was the same routine, only this time the silent male partner has returned with another older brother. I guess he is the muscle. A similar routine starts.
"You are a busy man," the muscle offers. Smiling slightly I reply, "Yes, between work and classes," I respond. "Are you in school?" the muscle asks. "No, it's my class. I'm the teacher." I respond. The silent partner and muscle exchange a quick glance. I wonder whether they get extra points for converting an educator.
The next few weeks saw a steady flow of saints to my door. Side note, why do the saints only seem to stalk the "'hood?" I never see them in ritzy neighborhoods. Are they under the impression that folks in the 'hood are in more need of saving?
Anyway, the word was out somehow because I got buzzed by an older white couple that left more literature at my door. Then there was another group of women who cruised by for some light unsolicited conversation about my soul.
One evening, just as I was about to get into Modern Family, a young black dude and white dude invited me to bible study. I was starting to wonder if I was being punked by some new reality series. Another night, I saw two young Mormon dudes at my door and I was tempted to play RuPauls Drag Race loudly on the television while they made their pitch at the door, but I thought that would only put me higher on the heathen list of potential converts.
A few Saturdays ago, I was coming out of my place and there were three older black men making the rounds. One of them spoke and asked about my faith. I responded that my grandfather was a minister to which the saint responded I did not ask about your grandfather I want to know your belief. I had enough.
I took a breath and I responded that my grandfather was a man of faith that did not force his beliefs on anyone but lived his life in a way that folks wanted to know more naturally. The saint was (finally) left speechless as I turned and walked away.