Some time ago, I wrote a column concerning houseguests, and in particular, a pair of visitors who spent 36 hours with us—an visit interminable. When they left, I was of a mind to change my phone number, name, and possibly relocate to Finland—lest they dare to contemplate another visit.
On the other hand, I too, make occasional overnight visits to friends and family. I have thought to impart a few words of advice to my faithful readers, on how to be the perfect houseguest. As you may imagine; I consider myself to be a perfect guest. In fact, after this column is published, the Reporter-Herald will no doubt be flooded with invites wanting me to spend a few days in various reader’s homes.
Paramount on the list is to tell your hosts what day and time you plan to arrive. I remember a few years ago, when we had visitors who were reluctant to divulge their arrival time: “We should be there on Wednesday, Thursday, or possibly Friday.” We knew that any plans we had for that time span would be put on hold. When my bride tried to pin them down, she was told: “We want to surprise you!” Friends, it wasn’t a pleasant surprise.
That entire time was spent much the same as what one goes through when you have your house on the market, keeping it “ready to show“. My wife attempted to keep me on my best behavior as we cleaned and re-cleaned, picked up, dusted, and vacuumed. She had prepared food that was disposed of because it passed it’s prime during our “pleasant” wait. When our guests finally did show, it was near lunchtime Friday, and as my wife hurriedly began to put food on the table, she was told: “Oh, no need to do that, Sharon, we just stopped at What-A-Burger, and had burgers and milkshakes.”
My life partner’s whole appearance changed; reminiscent of “The Hulk’s” transformation—only without the green make-up.
But, back to those valuable hints. Dietary restrictions are part of the fun of visitor accommodation. “No meat for me, I’ve gone vegan since our last visit.” But to be a perfect visitor, you must sometimes gag down a recipe and pretend it’s delicious, possibly a gustatory delight that in your own home would be consigned to the Disposall. “My, my, Gertrude, that “Garlic Strawberry Compote” was simply wonderful, be sure to give us the recipe before we leave!” Secretly, you pray your hostess has a touch of culinary amnesia before you head back home.
You should rein in your comments about your host’s audio and TV taste. “We always watch “Cops”, it’s such an uplifting show.” Says your host, and you’re thinking that a re-run of “Little House On The Prairie” might suit you better, but, you graciously settle in to witness a few cracked skulls, and pray for a power failure.
One more thing, as ideal houseguests, you will may need to pretend not to notice that the nicely framed photo of yourselves you presented to them on your last stay, is no where to be seen.
There were other timely tips I planned to include, but after thinking it over, I realize I enjoy my own company so much, that I’ll just relax here at home for a few days, put “Cops” on the telly, my nicely framed picture on the mantle, and relish being my own perfect houseguest.