House Guests

Situation:  A friend from out of town will be staying at your apartment for a few days.

If this was New York:  As soon as the subject comes up, you go into full scale event planning mode that most people reserve for their wedding.  You clear your schedule.  You consider any work-related deadlines that might fall during that time, and try to move up the deadlines so you wont have extra stress during the visit.  

If you have roommates, you think about how much time it has been since your last house guest, and ask yourself if anything too grievous happened then.  You wind up promising to clean the entire apartment before and after the visit, and maybe even buying pizza for dinner.

You try to contemplate the best place to put the guest-  The blow up mattress can only fit in two places-  In the living room, but only if you put the couch on it’s side, or in the kitchen.  Depending on how much you like your friend, you’ll give up your blanket and use your sleeping bag, or vice versa.

As you start to give your house guest a tour of your place, you can see them actively trying to find nice things to say about your place, and wondering if you’re actually unemployed.  You find yourself saying “If you think this is small, you should see my last place!”  Then you change the subject by showing them how you can see the Empire State Building if you climb out on the fire escape and lean out a little.

After the tour, you start giving your guest a list of all the things they will need to know about your apartment:

  1. There are three keys to get into the building, but you only have a spare set with two of the keys, and the third can only be made by the super.  You let them know that third key isn’t needed too frequently.
  2. They can run the AC or the microwave, but never both at the same time.
  3. If you see an older gentleman enter the apartment, don’t be alarmed, it’s just the landlord’s father getting some of the Costco shrimp they keep in your freezer.  Just avoid eye contact.
  4. The water pressure in the shower is great, but there is still possibly lead in the pipes, so it’s best to keep your mouth closed when bathing.
  5.  There’s 14 different hot sauces in the refrigerator, but they belong to your roommate and you need to ask permission before using one.

The first night is great-  you go out to dinner, you show them around your neighborhood, and you catch up since the last time you hung out.  Problems really start the next day when your friend decides that you’re going to be their tour guide and phone-therapist as they try to navigate the city without you.  That evening you are bombarded with comments that you have heard a million times before-  yes, the people here are very rude.  Yes, it is really humid here.  No, the man guy playing music on the subway probably wasn’t one of the Bee Gees, even though he looked like him.

The next two days wind up being shades of the same, though you find yourself defending why you live in New York.  After your guest leaves, go out of your way to clean up the apartment, and hope that it’s going to be awhile before anyone else asks to stay with you.

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