Woe is me…..
Why is that as we get older we lose our sense of hospitality? When we were in college, we crashed on floors with our sleeping bags and shared beds with platonic friends. This happened all the time, everywhere. We repaid the favor by filling the fridge and offering our homes in return. And friends took us up on that offer. We preferred the familiar to a hotel bill. We saw this as an opportunity to bond not as a chance to freeload. Well, ok, it’s also to save money. I am coming to Los Angeles July 22-25 for a class that cost me $225, a plane ticket that was $182 and a rental car that was $120. I also have to fly to Idaho and Atlanta in August, Massachusetts and Virginia in September. So, yes, if I don’t have to pay for a hotel, all the better. But to me, I would rather have friends stay with me than at a hotel anyway. It’s rude. (I had one ex-boyfriend, however, that chose the hotel because my house isn’t clean enough for him. Well, that I understand. I don’t organize my soup cans and color code my towels.)
But now, those offers to “come visit me” have dried up. Friends are married, have kids, want a quiet place to retreat after a full day at their “grown-up” jobs. Their once anxious calls to visit are replaced with “there’s no room,” “my place is too small,” “we are in the middle of moving,” or my favorite, “Now’s not a good time.” Guests get in the way.
Because I’m single and freelance, I have a difficult time understanding this mentality. Even when I rent out my spare room, I’ve got a couch and living room if friends need a place to sleep. I may be busy and never see them but at least they won’t have to shell out $100/nt someplace or crash in their car. My family is even worse. My sister, the (anti)Buddhist, said I could use her tiny Silverlake apartment while she was in India. One week from the visit, she sends me an email with a bunch of excuses that basically said, “I’ve changed my mind. Find someplace else.” This, after everything I’ve done to help her, from giving her pet advice, to asking my friends and contacts to help her with the weird music she creates, to trying to patch things up between her and our dad (who cut her off years ago). She wouldn’t even be there to feel my presence yet it wasn’t an option on second thought.
Makes a person feel bad about themselves. Was I a lousy houseguest at some point? Did word get around so that people I’ve never stayed with won’t open their homes? How come no one ever said anything to me about it? I know that I shouldn’t take this personally but out of 10 calls to find housing for this coming weekend in L.A. only one kind soul said, “If you can’t find anything else, then I suppose….”
I really want to know. Why, when we get older, do you not have room for an out-of-town guest for three nights? If you do and would love a place to stay in Park City come winter, send me a note. I’m happy to return a favor.