Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Newest Invention - The Stranger Danger Airlock

People who don't telecommute can't really grasp all the things that drive a telecommuter crazy.

My friend Joanne Basile posted about this last week.

On the whole, telecommuters are more productive than people in cube farms because there are fewer distractions. You'd be amazed how much of your day is eaten up in an office environment with chit chat, fire drills, people asking you to help them get the 30 page report with staples out of the copier and the endless parade of birthday lunches.

However, there are some things that happen at home that people don't think about.

For me, it's the endless stream of door to door solicitors that break up my day. My UPS man knocks softly and leaves my package. He gets it. However, the following people do not.

  • Random hippies who care deeply about something that is on their clipboard. They ring the bell a minimum of three times. This is FANTASTIC when you're on a conference call. 
  • FedEx - FedEx likes to throw the package at the door from 200 yards away causing me to scream and weaponize. Also super if you're on a conference call or recording a training video. 
  • Flyerists  - these are the worst. These are the creepy people prowling your neighborhood and leaving garbage on your porch. Sometimes, I hear something and go look out the peephole and there's some creeper just standing there. I don't think I should have to throw away anyone else's garbage. These should simply be outlawed. They apparently are not acquainted with the internet.
  • Converters - people who think that I'm ready to sign up to worship Zolton at 2 PM between meetings and that it's just fate that I opened my door with my soul all laid bare for the taking.
Now mind you, I do NOT open my door. I've seen enough movies to know how that scenario ends. But still, I think it's disrespectful to ring the doorbell of a person you do not know or of a person who knows you but does not know you're coming, unless you're being chased by an axe murderer. Wait - that doesn't really work either. Girl scouts are the only known exception to this rule. Oh, and trick or treaters, which I'll get to in a second. Also, this rule is waived at Christmas when people are flinging cookies about like so much confetti. 

So I have invented a system I believe will solve this issue for me and my fellow telecommuters.

It's a series of airlocks and consequences, leading to the front door. A person would enter the first airlock and be asked the following question: "Do we know you?" If the answer is no, they are asked "Are you with FedEx or UPS?" If the answer to that is yes, they proceed to the next airlock. If the answer is still no, they are asked if they are being chased by an axe murderer. If the answer to that is no, they are simply vaporized. 

If they answer that they DO know us, but answer the question "Do we know you're coming?" in the negative, they are vaporized. 

If they know us, we know they're coming, or they have a package, they can proceed to the door. 

If they do not know us, but are being chased by an axe murderer, they may proceed to the door IF the axe murderer is NOT in the airlock with them. If he is, sadly, they will both be vaporized. It's for the best. 

Girl Scouts and trick or treaters are automatically approved for immediate transport to the front door. 

You have to agree this is for the best. This system will be available soon on Amazon. 

Since Halloween is coming, the trick or treater exception is important. I love my little trick or treaters. I remember how excited I was to get my costume - usually hand made by my mom - every year and put it on. Mine were always princess-ish and I remember how I thought every one was the best one in the world. 

Like this...

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I bought this little image on vacation in Santa Fe because the second I saw it I knew it would be PERFECT for Beate's Hope You Can Cling To challenge, which is called Rays of Hope. The challenge is to make a greyscale card with a pop of pink. It was the perfect way for this little girl to show off her sassy ballerina outfit, and most certainly exactly how she feels about her costume compared to the others.

My dad had bought me some Lyra watercolors for my birthday and that's what I used to watercolor the image with. But see how the paper is sort of transparent?

That's because I bought this CRAY-CRAY paper in Santa Fe - it's made of stone! I'm not kidding - it has no wood or fiber in it at all, and so if you roll it up, it will immediately go back to its shape. It's also water resistant, so it's good for camping or geocaching, and you can even write on it without a pen or pencil - just a stick or a piece of metal. I bought some small pads of it for geocaching. It's called TerraSkin and you can read about it here.

Anyhoo - these little peeps are welcome at my door.

For the rest of them? I say - answer carefully and beware the airlock! :)



  1. The air lock is GENIUS! I'm still laughing over "flinging cookies about like so much confetti" HAHAHA! Yeah.

    I totally like the vaporizing option, too. Maybe you'll need some sort of log for them to peruse pre-entry, though, like a survival rate or something. It could cut down on vaporizing solution refills.

  2. Oh Lydia,

    You are just too funny! A vaporizing option...GENIUS!!! We've all felt that way before, but none of us ever came up with such a clever solution!!! I just love, Love, LOVE your blog, you always make me laugh out loud! (Plus your cards are always great.)

    Peace, Love & Joyce,

  3. Pure genius! I even read it out loud to my husband. I don't telecommute but I used to, and I have a brand new baby. I don't think most people understand my visceral reaction to the doorbell. Especially the drop in. If I know you, you have my phone number. Call first!

    Also, the card is brilliant! I love that image, both for the challenge and also for the way you so perfectly captured the emotion if those early halloweens. Your greyscalen coloring is perfection!

  4. Please tell me just as soon as the Amazon pre-order goes live for this contraption. I'm in like flint.

    I was going to suggest that you move into one of those gated neighborhoods, but that will only cut down on the random hippies, flyerists, and converters. Although some of your new neighbors will belong to said group(s) and will have to be vaporized. Oh, and if the dropper-inners swing by, they won't be allowed in, because they aren't on the list.

    Said gates do not teach any delivery people manners or proper package handling etiquette.

    Also, if there are any maintenance people lurking about (because they have special entrance privileges), I'm afraid they require some sort of pre-vaporizing punishment. You know, like at the door, there could be a boxing glove shoot out and hit them upside the head with a recording that says "this is for ringing the doorbell to announce you've arrived" (KA-POW), followed by "and here's for ringing the friggin doorbell a second time to announce you're all done." (POOF)

    Oh, and one last thing. That card beautiful and I love it. xoxo

  5. Love your idea. I have Luke, a large slavering dog. I can just go to the window and pretend not to be able to control him. If that doesn't work, I open the inner door and let him jump all over the outer door. It doesn't usually take more than this to send them running.

  6. Love it. I need an air lock vaporizer for sure. I also need a "say no to extraneous commitments" button that can deny requests on my behalf. any ideas?

  7. I'm so glad we share a cube at the office.

  8. I will be first in line to buy your system! Our neighborhood seems to have the MOST random door knockers I've ever seen...or maybe it's just because I'm in a house now and not an apartment and work funny hours so I'm often home during the day....but I don't care how MANY times you knock....get a clue, I ain't comin' to the door! Oh but I do have a sort of early warning system (besides the 6 pound watch dog that is)...our wireless doorbell which has NO ringer at our house rings when the across the street neighbor has a visitor, lol! I know when to run and hide if it rings! ALthough I did think it was possessed before I finally figured it out after living here well over a year, lol!!!!


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