15 Rules for HouseguestsPosted: June 24, 2011
Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God was truly the Gold standard of Womanhood to which I aspired when I was younger, except for the Immaculate Conception part, which made me feel sort of sorry for her. The Catholic religion really blew it on the Immaculate Conception idea. Nobody would go for abortion these days if they thought they had a chance of making a sibling for baby Jesus.
I imagine if you were a houseguest at the Virgin Mary’s hut, she would be the ultimate concierge to make your stay as comfortable as possible, and for most of my adult life I worked hard to be that same kind of hostess-with-the-mostess.
When you’re halfway to dead, you reach a point where you grow weary of being unconditionally nice to your houseguests all day long in your own home. Plus you realize that no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to get your own statue and alcove in a church, let alone your own prayer and holy card. On the night you find yourself sneaking out of the house to do some drive-by yelling at skateboarding teenagers, you return home conditionally nice…..and happier.
So to make everyone’s stay in my abode more pleasant and memorable in a good way, I came up with the following 15 Rules for Houseguests:
1. Don’t start off your visit by putting five little bags of airplane nuts on my kitchen counter as a treat for me.
2. No leftover food item that’s smaller than a cell phone may be wrapped in foil and put in the refrigerator on the pretense that you are going to “eat it later.”
3. Even if you offer to pay for my ticket, I am still not going to Disneyland with you. This actually works in your favor because if I did go with you and you paid, you’d spend the whole long ride back to my house thinking about what a bitch I was for the $80 it cost you to get me in.
4. And don’t come home from Disneyland with a “gift” for me, unless Disneyland now sells merchandise with absolutely NO LOGOS OF ANY, ANY, ANY KIND on it — in which case I could use some kitchen towels.
5. As far as conversation goes, we’re not interested in Ripley’s-Believe-It-or-Not Profound Tragedy stories that happened to your hairdresser’s mother’s friend or anyone else whose relationship to you relies on a combination of nouns that become adjectives. You may gossip only about family and friends that we know well.
6. Sexual scandals about ANYONE, on the other hand, are always welcome. In this case, we don’t need to know the person or how you know the person – or even if it’s a Real Person and not a figment of your perverted imagination. All we ask is that the story be salacious enough to make it onto the Jerry Springer show.
7. Please bear in mind that your hosts do not usually drink this much alcohol and therefore are not genuine candidates for rehab. We are merely self-medicating.
8. No, I have not seen your shoes lying around somewhere.
9. If I ask you what you’d like to eat or do that day, don’t respond with, “I don’t care…… whatever you want.” CARE! The reason I’ve asked you is because I’ve either run out of ideas or I have way too many of them. Just don’t get too attached to your answer.
10. All sunblock that leaves your room becomes community property, especially if it’s expensive, in which case it becomes solely mine, and like your shoes, no, sorry, I haven’t seen it lying around somewhere.
11. This does not mean I also stole your shoes.
12. If you care to dispose of any garbage which you do not want anyone in my family to see for some reason that now makes me really want to see it, either take it home with you or plan to be here on a Monday/Tuesday which is when people put their trash cans out in the street for garbage pick-up and you can dump your secret in a neighbor’s can while we’re sleeping. Bear in mind, though, that our neighbors across the street have a new baby and are probably up at that odd hour and are probably so mind-numbingly bored from trying for 2 hours to get their baby back to sleep that – for sheer entertainment value – they will probably venture out after you to see what kind of trash is making you sneak out of the house in the middle of the night. They won’t tell us about it, but they’ll smile at you knowingly on Wednesday, so be prepared.
13. Your transportation problems are for you to solve unless your problems mean that you are going to have to stay at my house for one more day – in which case I will decisively intervene to help you figure out a way to get to the airport.
14. When you pack up to leave, please take your spare change with you off the top of the dresser. What are you thinking: You’re leaving us a tip? Since the U.S. currency is no longer tied to the gold standard, you might as well be leaving us screws and nails.
15. Most Important of All: When you return home, don’t thank me by e-mail! Send me a real card. Otherwise I’m going to come and visit you.
In my heart of hearts, I know Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God is reading this and striking her breast with the lament, “Where did I go wrong?”
But I’m probably not going to have any houseguests for the next three years now because I’ll have scared all my family and friends away.
— Marci Crestani