A Guide for Out of Town Guests
I love having friends from out of town stay for the weekend, but what initially is an exciting prospect can become stressful very quickly. I live in an apartment not a condo so this is not a guest soaps and extra bedroom sort of affair. But there is some preparation and extension of hospitality that goes on. I’m not an animal. Having friends stay is a lot easier than entertaining your parents, but at least your parents won’t get wasted and lose their cell phones, so each has it’s pros and cons. So if you’re planning of having guests stay over, here are a few pointers to make things run more smoothly.
Have Back-up Plans
Just because someone’s staying at your house doesn’t mean you’ll end up back there at the same time. This happens almost every time I have friends stay over. Someone gets lost in the mix as the night progresses, next thing you know it you wake up and their sleeping in their car outside your house, or waiting on the front porch at 5am. So unless you have a yard with a secret hide-a-key, make an extra copy of your keys for your guest and exchange them while sober. If they manage to lose those keys as well, we know who’s paying for changing the locks. Other possessions that tend to lose themselves during a visit are cellphones. People perfectly capable of holding onto their belongings in their familiar environments have a hard time keeping their valuables in one place when out of town. Whether it gets lost or smashed, the cellphone is like virginity on prom night, it’s always the first thing to go. My advice, make a cheat sheet of important numbers or addresses, because sometimes drunk people are like toddlers, they need to know where “home” is.
Having one of my former apartments described as decrepit by my father, I realized that family members expect a higher sense of cleanliness than old college friends. That being said, it’s still nice to tidy up a little when you’re expecting company. There’s a big difference between clutter and trash. Stack of books = clutter, stack of beer bottles= trash. Even if you haven’t vacuumed since Bush was in office, the only room that needs to be cleaned is the bathroom. Just a spritz here, a wipe here, throw in a scented candle and instantly it looks like you’ve been preparing for their arrival all day. Bonus points for having an extra set of towels and tee pee on hand. These may seem like no-brainers but it’s the little things that count.
I’m lucky enough to live in a city where there are limitless dining options, so naturally I get excited to show off this variety to out-of-towner’s. The problem is when you’re over ambitious about dining options and want to try something new it always backfires. Drinking out of coffee cups from the 76 winter games and old mason jars may be cool around your parts, but to your friends, you look like a cheap asshole. Any new restaurant has its kinks during the first month, so it’s better to stay with the ol’ stand-bys you know that are tried and true. Otherwise you’ll end up like me, starving for hours because your orders were never placed while your friends drink cold coffee and quietly judge you.
It seems everbody’s got GPS these days, and if you’re lucky enough to have a car, then you can chauffeur your guests around town no problem. But if you’re at the mercy of public transportation, friendships will be broken, tears will be shed, and no one ever makes it on time. There’s nothing worse then ending a a great trip with being stranded at your local bus or train station. I made that mistake this past New Year and entrusting my friends to the great Metropolitan Transporatation Authority only to have them stuck in the bowels of Port Authority Bus station for hours on end. When in doubt, call a car or bribe friends for a ride. Your friendship depends on it.