I’m not sure who it was or at what point in history someone thought having ‘house guests’ was a thing that ought to exist.
But I’m mad about it.
All over the world, at this very moment, there are good people being held hostage in their friends’ homes.
To be clear, I’m not talking about having people over for dinner. That is relatively unproblematic for one simple reason:
Once the dinner is eaten they must go home fairly immediately. There is a defined and socially accepted end time that is silently agreed upon by all parties.
I’m talking about the act of staying with people when you travel, whether it’s interstate or internationally. I completely understand that for some people it’s a financial necessity – I have been that person more times than I care to admit.
BUT at 26, I am asserting once and for all that no, I do not want to stay at your house. And it’s not because I don’t like you. It’s because I don’t like people for any extended period of time.
Now, I’m going to tell you a story about a girl named Sally.
Sally used to turn up to my house uninvited when I was in high school, which is an
introvert’s any person’s worst nightmare. I don’t even know what I was doing, but I’m certain I didn’t have pants on. I was probably singing a song with the wrong lyrics, or making my 11th snack, or crying for no reason which would all be fine if I was alone.
But alas, in she would stroll. She’d sit next to me on the couch. Watch some TV. Pat my dog. Ask “what do you want to do??” every four or so minutes. It was… how shall I put this…
One day I just needed her to leave. I needed time to sit and stare at the ceiling and not be asked “HAHA you’re so weird what are you looking at??”
So I put my work uniform on, and I walked to my job.
I was not working that day. In fact, I’m not even sure if I was employed at the time.
I just had no other plan of escape.
Ever since I have had a phobia of a) having people in my house indefinitely and b) being stuck in someone else’s house indefinitely.
Of all the thoughts I have throughout a given day, I’d estimate that 85 per cent of them are stupid. Nonsensical, even.
So once I have spoken to someone for an acceptable time period, let’s say over a meal or drinks, I’ve used up the 15 per cent that is marginally interesting.
If I am staying in a house with someone, then give it two hours and I will start speaking utter shit. Small talk is my worst skill and I do not know how to get better at it.
Furthermore, staying in someone else’s house means you lose your schedule. You can’t wake up whenever you want, or stay up late watching YouTube videos of strange people dancing, which is my true source of joy in life.
You have to eat when you’re not hungry and not eat when you are.
I DON’T WANT BREAKFAST NOW IT’S TOO EARLY AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE FISH FOR DINNER I’M SORRY.
Sometimes I feel like biscuits at 11pm, which doesn’t make sense, but I can’t just go and eat them because there will be questions/queries etc.
Being a guest also comes with a feeling of being indebted. You have to be on your best behaviour always because they are giving you a bed and that is kind. So you just sit with this bizarre guilt for the entire time, feeling like you can’t quite thank them enough.
In my humble opinion, being a house guest is worse than prison. Because at least in prison people expect very little of you in the way of social interaction, and secondly, no one can suggest you “go out and do something fun!” together when you’d rather just lie in bed.
There are entire forums on the Internet dedicated to “terrible house guests” which just reiterates the fact that when you live in close proximity to someone for any length of time things are going to get weird.
The average person can only act ‘normal’ for a short window of time.
And that is why we need to stay in goddamn hotel rooms.
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, below.
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