Observations of a Perpetual Houseguest
As a national touring road comic chasing his art across this vast country, journeying from coast to coast on an epic adventure to tell fart jokes to strangers (see: HOMELESS), I spend a lot of time crashing on the couches and floors of friends and strangers alike. Bar shows don't give you a motel room, and I'm lucky to have people opening their doors to me, what with being a shiftless ne'er do well.
Checking the "male," right? Can I sleep on the dog bed in your closet?
Whether I'm staying with old pals that I've known for the better part of 2 decades, or using Couchsurfing.com to meet strange people and find new, interesting ways to be murdered in my sleep, I spend 7 - 9 months a year living in people's homes that aren't mine. After a while, you become an expert in how the other half lives, and it's often a relentless nightmare.
Take this as a list of observations that can serve as a guide; both how to be an awesome host, and/or how to maybe figure out how to become a better version of yourself, cause some of you folks are absolute garbage. And speaking specifically of garbage...
1) Clean Your Couch
I don't expect everyone's home to be immaculate. Hell, one glance at the inside of my car, and you'll assume that I was raised in (insert name of town near your town where meth heads live). But I find it fascinating how humans will vacuum and scrub all parts of their house, while their couch resembles a public beach. I've seen floors in rest stop bathrooms that have less unidentifiable detritus on them.
All mine for the night...you shouldn't have.
Maybe I'm more prone to noticing it because that's where I'm supposed to put my head for the night, and I recognize that the same pillow your dog wipes his ass on is where my face is supposed to go. It gets even more puzzling when the couch is cheap vinyl, since that takes a whole 35 seconds to wipe down with a moist towelette from Red Lobster.
When I leave, all I want to take with me are fond memories of meeting new folks and/or sharing a story and some laugh with friends, not pink eye and scabies.
2) No Soap in the Bathroom
Listen you dirt monsters. When you have ONE bathroom in your apartment/home/trailer, and upon using it I discover there is no soap, I will avoid touching anything else in the building. Let's put aside, for a minute, that 70% of time spent in the bathroom involves you touching your genitalia, or instruments used for scrubbing parts of your mouth. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty:
This is where you poop, and presumably, then clean your crack. Also, in this post-wiping scenario, I highly doubt that you travel to the kitchen sink to wash your hands, or jump in the shower after every BM.
Stink palm x10
I'm not above going into your bathing spot and using your shower gel to wash my hands. Also, you foul beasts, hand sanitizer is NOT a valid replacement. That is used for killing germs, not getting rid of them. You may kill all the fecal cells on your hand, but they're still there, and I don't want dead doo doo germs on me any more than live caca bacteria.
3) I'm Not The Referee of Your Domestic Dispute
Hello, strangers who let me crash for the night. Oh, he's inconsiderate and pigheaded while she's spiteful and inattentive? That's great! What's the wifi password?
"Bill Hicks used to stand like this, you know..."
As bad as this situation is to find myself in when it's people I know, it gets even worse when it's happening with randoms I met 30 minutes ago. Sometimes I'm just there while the throwdown happens around me, but too often I wind up sitting in the living room or kitchen while the argument happens THROUGH me.
I truly DON'T want to tell her that I see your point and yes, she sounds crazy. I'm also not fond of telling him he should be more sensitive to your feelings. I really, really just want to snag a shower and 4 hours of sleep before your dog starts licking my face at 5 a.m.
I tell fart jokes and live in my car. How am I the only adult in this situation?
The primary reason that I've become an amateur couple's counselor is because if the fight can't be settled before bed, then one of the participants will be cast out of the bedroom and onto the dirty, disgusting couch, meaning I get relegated to the floor of the laundry room, so I need to fix this spat fast.
4) Yes, I Like Your Dog. No, It's Not My Dog
Your dog is not awesome. I hate to say it, because I LOVE dogs. But no, your pup isn't the most wonderful and intuitive 4-legged creature ever, and I take no responsibility for it in your absence.
As a good houseguest staying for free, I get that it's on me to try and offer to help out around the house. Need the trash taken out? No prob. Wash the dish I use? Happy to do it. Going out, and want me to parent your dog for the next 3 days? Back up.
Make sure he has water. After a walk, give him a treat; he enjoys Snausages or your thyroid gland.
No, I don't want to walk your mutt in the rain, and scoop his runny poop. You don't even have soap in your bathroom, so I'll have dog-doo hand for the duration of my stay. I'm not willing to give your pup insulin shots, and I won't take my life in my hands and clip your little hell hound's razor-like talons.
I didn't rescue him, and he sure isn't rescuing me when he pees on my duffle bag to mark it as his own, or treats my socks like an after dinner mint.