Don’t Try It…Until You Knock It

Say you’re a real estate agent, and you want to show your client some properties.  So, you see a property that the client might be interested in, and you call to set up an appointment with the agent on the sign.  The agent clears the day and time with the homeowners so that they can vacate the premises for the prospective buyers to walk through.  Simple enough, right?  We all have the days of the week memorized by, oh…1st grade.  Since realtors and homeowners are decades beyond the 1st grade, we can safely assume no confusion there.  Also, there’s that tricky clock.  A bit more complex than days of the week because there are 24 possibilities…and if you divide the hours into halves, maybe 48 possibilities.  Somewhat daunting, but the numbers repeat every day, so after some time, you have those memorized too.  Let’s say…also 1st grade.  

Ok, so, to make the process more simple, the homeowners realtor attaches a key box to the front door, which receives a code that presumably the buyers realtor can have, and get access to a key to open the door…to show his clients around.  Simple enough.  Day of the week.  Time of day.  Key box.  This is not rocket science.  

Ok, unforeseen, huge problem number one.  What do you do if you arrive with your clients 20 minutes early?  Your appointment is  for 2:30.  It is 2:10.  You have the key to the door in your hand.  What do you do?

There are so many options.  This must have been how it became so tricky.  You could go back to your car and drive back home, but that would likely take entirely too much time, and you’d miss the 2:30 appointment.  You might start a fire in the front yard, and hope the homeowners see it and come out, and then you can ask if they are ready to leave.  That’s more than mildly illegal though.  That might be trouble for you and your client.  I know.  You have the key.  Just unlock the door…(20 minutes early) and start walking in.  That way you’re not late.  No need for matches…or a criminal lawyer.  That’s the choice, right?

Well, here’s what happens if you do that.  The big oaken door that you have opened without notice gets slammed and locked in your face, and you are referred to your handy timekeeping device.  Simply opening the door is not a good choice.  The homeowner might be a former cop, he might be a former Marine.  Hell, he might be both.  He might be sitting next to his .45, since he is planning to take it with him, since strangers will be walking around in his house while he is gone.  

When I was growing up, houses had doors, doorbells, and door knockers.  I can’t think of how many doors I have approached and either rang the doorbell, or knocked.  I did it as a kid delivering newspapers.  I did it as an adult as a police officer.  I have done it on neighbors doors, and I have done it on family members doors.  I’m right handed, so I usually use my right index finger to ring a bell, and I usually knock with the knuckles of my right hand.  I guess I’m pretty good at it.  I’ve never had much of a problem knocking or ringing.  I once rang the bell at Madonna’s house in Hollywood, and she came out…after her bodyguard answered the door.  This custom works in foreign countries too.  It transcends language barriers and religious differences.  Blind people can hear bells and knocks, and deaf people have systems arranged so that the lights flash, so they can be alerted that someone wants to come in.  Knocking and ringing is a widely accepted and practiced custom.  

Today’s realtor just keyed and walked in.  20 minutes early.  I know the country is handling some pressing issues lately.  Should we go back to offices, or work from home.  Should women be allowed the autonomy of their bodies or should the government own their uteruses?  Should a former president be allowed to share military secrets with guest randos at his janky club…to impress them?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  That’s a hard one.  But…knocking?  Whatever happened to knocking?