Anyone who lives within any sort of proximity to NYC knows intimately the trials and tribulations of oh-so-inevitable house guests. The closer to the island your couch is, the more desirable a vacation destination it is. Now the majority of these guests have agendas- conferences, events- specific things that bring them to the city- as well as other New Yorkers they need to see. Their days are supposed to be crammed with activities which include treating you, the couch provider, to a meal and enabling you to spend your day off looking at New York through fresh eyes.
Being a good house guest is an art, a delicate balance, the mastery of which is essential to avoiding the riffs and ruined friendships which are easily the spoils of a miss calculated couch crash. It’s tough living with someone who’s in vacation mode, waking up early to spend the day sightseeing while you’re off to the daily grind where the only sight is your asshole of a boss.
So how long can I stay? she asks me via cross-coastal phone conversation. And so it begins. The delicate art of answering this question- I say too short and I’m a bitch, too long and I’ll start hating her. “Four Days.” I reply. That’s a direct quote. Four days is a bit of a stretch, but I tell her as long as she realizes I can’t take off work, that I will try to fit in time with her into my schedule, but I can’t make any promises. As long as all that is clear, my aerobed is her aerobed.
And it’s fun. We go to restaurants I’ve wanted to try, see Avenue Q which I’ve wanted to see since 2003, do some good walking explorations, and complain about the East Coast Cold as only two California girls can. She’s on the needy side. She’s just visiting for no real reason, she doesn’t know anyone else in the city, but that’s alright for four days. Having a friend visit provides a great reminder of how awesome the city is, a fact which sometimes slips my mind now that it’s been my home for several months. Good times.
Then the bomb drops.
My mom actually booked my flight for ten days. But I’m going to try for stand by on Tuesday.
WHAT? Excuse me? TEN DAYS? When I said FOUR? How does that make sense? I can understand being economical or whatever, but not when it’s on my dime! My time dime! I already made plans for Sunday, the day you’re SUPPOSED to be leaving. I have a date with Cute Theatre Boy– our fifth date in fact, well past the cliché third. If I have to come home and sleep in the same room as you when I’d rather be “sleeping” in the same room as him, I will come home a frustrated cranky-pants.
My decision: Sunday, the fourth day, I relinquish any “host duties”. She can sleep on my floor, she has no where else to stay that doesn’t cost boat loads of money and if I asked her to go to a hotel I know the friendship would end right there, but I’m done entertaining her. She’s on her own. There’s guilt in this decision- am I being a shit friend? And perhaps I am because shortly following this decision, karma delivers me a sounding blow to the head (and I do mean that in the most literal way possible), the story of which you can read in my next post!