Just like many Americans, as well as others around the world, I’m consuming an inordinate amount of television these days. Between Netflix and cable, I’m watching a lot of shows that have been in syndication and are the perpetual rerun cornerstone of channels like WE. Some of the shows, Law and Order or Criminal Minds, I end up watching start off as mere background noise for one of the women I’ve been staying with for nearly a month now. Other shows are binge-worthy shows that have been picked up by Netflix, like The Magicians. The other woman whose home I’m staying in likes to binge-watch shows with me. We’ve decided our next binge will be Orphan Black. A couple of shows I’ve been watching are Locke & Key and Legacies. I watch when neither woman is with me. Finally, there are their accumulated shows on their DVR…like The Closer and network staples like Grey’s Anatomy (which I never got into).
Why am I telling you about my tv watching habits? Glad you asked. Because sometimes there’s actually something useful to be learned or some bit of interesting trivia that you didn’t know. Such a thing happened to me, yesterday.
Earlier in the day, my friend was watching Grey’s Anatomy on her DVR. She offered to change what she was watching to something we had been watching together. I told her to continue watching her shows and free up some DVR space. After all, I’m a long-term guest whose presence had been invited over for a short period of, not to be a roommate. Apparently, there’s a character on there who was also an unexpected long-term guest at one of his friend’s. He was packing up his things when the person who lived there questioned what he was doing and why. His response, “Houseguests are like fish. Both go bad after three days.” Later, we were watching a rerun of The Closer and Brenda Leigh’s mom had come for an unplanned visit and announced, out of the blue, that she was taking a flight back home the next day. Her reasoning? Houseguests are like fish, after three days they go bad.
My friend said, “You’re not a fish.”
It felt good to know that my presence hasn’t become a burden to them. I’ve basically been getting free room and board…and I feel very appreciative and blessed by them. However, I don’t want to take advantage of their hospitality. But, the longer this shelter-in order continues, the more concerned I get about whether I’m wearing out my welcome. So, I do my best to leave as little “footprint” in their home as possible.
I pick up after myself and sometimes pick up after them, too. Nothing major, just putting empty bottles in the Bottle Drop bag or gathering accumulated debris off the coffee table. I try to help with the dishes. I could do more there, so I’m going to make more of an effort…especially on the nights when the first woman cooks. (She’s an AMAZING Southern cook.) Easter dinner consisted of glazed spiral ham, green bean almandine, and fried corn. Nom nom. I also go to the store with her to help her shop, so she doesn’t have to walk around too much. Her knees are bone on bone and she’s always in pain. However, she works herself like a workhorse. So, I try to help her in ways that don’t infringe on her pride and autonomy. I’m also planning on giving them some money when I start getting paid.
So, if you’re a houseguest who doesn’t want to start going bad like a three-day-old fish keep in mind the following:
- The people you’re aren’t your maids. Pick up after yourself and see where you can pitch in with the cleaning.
- They aren’t your cruise director. Don’t expect them to entertain you or take over their entertainment. Be willing to do what they normally do when you’re not there.
- They’re your hosts, not your parents. Pay your way, when you can, and help out however you can that works for them.
If you’ve ever hosted someone in your home, what are some ways they can be helpful on their own, without your prompting?
If you’ve been a long-term guest, what did you do to not wear out your welcome?
What’s on your binge watch list?