I just turned down a great newspaper subscription rate from a door-to-door salesman. This kid was really good--about my age and very up-front and honest in face and speech. I had his pen and tiny clipboard in my hand, and I was ready to fill out the form so this kid could get financial aid on his college tuition.

I'd decided from all his forthright information, which newspaper I was going to have delivered. Then I realized: I don't have a job and I really can't afford to pay for it. I was standing in my open doorway, letting all the cold air in, with no shoes, contemplating a newspaper subscription.

He was still persuasive--he won't cash the check until Sunday. Or I could pay via credit card. I asked him if he could just give me the form with his signature and representative number and I could mail it in or something when I've actually got the money. He shook his attractive little head with the long, dark hair and kept talking.

Part of that drive to hold his small clipboard and fill out that form was his sex appeal. And you think only women use sex to get what they want? Nothing huge and suggestive there, but he was just inside that physical intimacy circle. I remember learning a song called "Stay Outside of My Line" from an audio tape called Safety Kids. It had a booklet with illustrations and lyrics; one illustration showed a kid tracing a dotted circle around himself on the ground.

Yeah, this guy had stepped just inside my line. I couldn't quite smell him, but when I leaned on the other side of the doorframe to contemplate his enticing offer, he followed me to that side. I backed up a little, and he stepped forward, just on the metal rim that held my apartment's carpet in place along the door. I couldn't quite accuse him of trespassing. I don't even know if he was doing it deliberately.

When inside that line of mine, I was conscious of it as he kept talking. And that consciousness coincided with holding the clipboard and contemplation of where the money would come from. I eventually told him to come back to my apartment in a month or two when I have a job. In retrospect, maybe he'll forget. But wow, he was convincing.
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