A knock on the door

(Content warning for description of opening my front door when someone knocked on it. I know that some of you get very upset about the idea of opening one’s door; you may want to skip this post.)

The following is a description of a puzzling incident that happened in April (iIrc)—I wrote the description at the time, but didn’t post it. It was an odd and confusing situation, but it didn’t scare or upset me, so no need to worry on my behalf. I’m posting it because I found it an interesting experience, worth documenting.

But I do get distressed by the sorts of comments that I usually get on posts about opening my front door, so I’m closing comments on this post.

I’m watching TV at 9 pm on a Saturday night, and someone knocks tentatively on my door. (My doorbell has been broken for some time.)

Almost nobody ever knocks on my door. I ignore it at first, not wanting to deal with it. But after a pause, the knocking repeats. After the second or third time, I turn off the TV, and turn on the front porch light, and open the door.

Standing on my front step is a youngish-appearing, and reasonably nicely dressed, woman of East Asian descent. (At least, that’s how the person looks to me. I’ll use she/her pronouns for convenience.)

She looks confused to see me. She speaks quietly and with a fairly thick accent (possibly not entirely fluent in spoken English, not sure), but eventually manages to communicate to me that she’s here to see Michael or Mike and Jennifer or Jenny.

I explain to her that there’s nobody here named Michael or Jennifer. I ask her what address she’s looking for.

She doesn’t answer that, but looks somewhat distraught and tries again, repeating the names, as if to suggest that I must just have misunderstood her. I repeat that no, they don’t live here, she must have the wrong address. I suggest that she call them to find out their address, but she doesn’t seem to understand the idea of calling them.

She cranes her neck to look past me, still looking really confused, as if to indicate that surely this is a joke, and as if she’s expecting that Michael and Jennifer will pop out from behind me and laugh and say “Surprise!”

I tell her again that she must have the wrong house. She tells me that no, it’s not the wrong house. She’s very firm about that. (She doesn’t say that she’s visited them at this house before, but that seems to me to be what she’s implying.) She looks more and more bewildered as our argument goes on.

Eventually, she repeats that it’s not the wrong house but says that she’s sorry to have bothered me, and she turns and leaves, and I close the door.

I strongly suspect that she really did just go to the wrong house. Half of the houses in this neighborhood are built on exactly the same design as mine; it’s dark out; my porch light was unlit; it would be easy to mistake one of these houses for another. It’s possible that someone told her the wrong house number, and that her certainty was just that this was the number she had been given; but her strong bewilderment made me think that she had visited her friends in this neighborhood before, in a house similar to mine, and had just gotten confused about which house they lived in.

(I’ve lived in this house for 14 years, and the people who lived her before me weren’t named Michael or Jennifer, so unless I have housemates that I don’t know about, this definitely wasn’t the house she was looking for.)

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