Best to abhor house guests from far
THERE'S an old saying: "Fish, house guests and Steven Segal movies begin to stink after three days." I personally think that is unfair to fish, especially since Steven Segal movies stink from conception.
House guests are a problem, though, especially in Hawaii where friends from the mainland generally assume everyone here is employed by Motel 6. I think a buddy of mine may recently have suffered a visit from itinerant friends or relatives because he gave me a long list of "Rules for Guests" he asked me to publish. The rather hostile tone of the document tells me his house guests were lucky to leave his hospitality alive. But he does make a few good points:
» Let us know in advance that you are coming. No, the day before is not advance notice. (Meaning it doesn't give him enough time to board up the doors and windows and put out the "Danger! Yellow Fever! Quarantined!" sign.)
» Limit your stay to a reasonable length of time. Four or five days is reasonable. Two weeks is pushing it. If you even think about staying all winter, you will die mysteriously in your sleep before December. (See? Hostile.)
» If you bring a guest of the opposite sex you are not sleeping with, please let us know. Failure to do so will result in intimacy that you and your guest may not be ready for. (Hey, that could be fun!)
» Do not interfere with the policies for the domestic pets. Leave outdoor animals outside. Leave indoor animals inside. (Or, just leave.)
» Don't make repairs to the house without asking or being asked. Removing the garbage disposal and then leaving it in the middle of the kitchen is not considered a "repair." (Picky, picky, picky.)
WE DON'T get many house guests at the Memminger Rancho Hacienda Grande Hale because our answering machine greeting is in Lithuanian. If the caller is a friend or relative looking to mooch off of us for several weeks, he thinks he's got the wrong number. (And, boy, does he.) If the caller understands Lithuanian he learns that the visitor facilities are "closed for the season" or, depending on who recorded the greeting, "the roast beef of your esteemed pantaloons is in the garden."
We once made the mistake of letting a passel of relatives stay with us and they ended up declaring our back bedroom "sovereign territory" and demanding eggs over easy for breakfast and diplomatic immunity from eviction notices. Utilizing the theory of posse comitatus, we deputized a group of our neighbors and drove the entrenched kinsfolk from the premises under cover of darkness with torches and pitch forks.
This is not to say that there is no such thing as good house guests. There are. Good house guests will rent a car, not borrow yours; fill up your refrigerator with food and beer and then announce that they will be staying in a hotel. On a neighbor island.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org