Further footnotes of a house guest


This column initially appeared in the Houston Chronicle on June 3, 1986.

Someplace in a cardboard box in my closet I have bought the initially chapter of a e book manuscript titled “The Early-Mounting House Visitor.” This materials has never been printed and it by no means will be. I would toss it away if I could come across it.

I started that task a number of yrs back throughout a intense assault of optimism and electricity. Soon after I labored on the thought several several hours, my signs and symptoms went away and I was all proper once more. But every time I locate myself an overnight visitor in somebody’s residence, I visualize those web pages of function, fading and curling in the closet. 

I think of them now due to the fact I am currently being a residence visitor at this very moment, functioning at the dining desk of a close friend who has gone off to get the job done and still left me on your own in his house. 

That manuscript was likely to be about my minimal adventures as a house guest with the unlucky behavior of waking up two several hours before my hosts. I felt capable to hand out assistance and quote policies on how to handle this awkward circumstance.

A couple of individuals principles may be worth rescuing and circulating. One has to do with animals that stay in the home exactly where you might be sleeping. Puppies, for instance. In advance of retiring, a visitor must get on the most effective feasible phrases with the host’s pet dog. Even if it is really the ugliest dog that ever scratched an itch, pet it and say great matters to it. Mainly because you will have to deal with this creature the following early morning when its learn is nonetheless sleeping.

Some canines that appear to be friendly at bedtime will not like the notion of a stranger creeping all over in the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. seeking for the coffeepot.

On the outside searching in

This is a further rule I established: In advance of going to bed, discover out how the locks on the doorways perform.

I place that a person in the guide after I acquired up one early morning at 4:30, not able to snooze, and went exterior to sit on the porch. I couldn’t get back again in for the reason that I locked myself out. And it was chilly. At 7 a.m. the host appeared and puzzled why I was sitting in my automobile in my pajamas.

You should to request, also, about peculiar noises that the dwelling may have. Virtually all homes have mysterious seems. The house owners will not be disturbed by them but a visitor will. 

This dwelling, as an case in point, has rapping in it. It’s a good household and not pretty outdated but nevertheless it has rapping. Each individual now and then, one thing goes rap rap rap.

Not just at night time. I read it a moment ago. It appeared to come from a single of the bedrooms and sounded like an individual rapping on the wall with a knuckle. I listened to it quite a few occasions all through the evening. The proprietor does not listen to it. 

It appears to be a racket devoid of any menace in it. It truly is nothing at all in opposition to the noises supplied off by other destinations I’ve slept in. A single experienced a Huge Something in the attic and could still have. It was some type of creature strolling all around up there. The owner explained it was in all probability a raccoon but if so, it was a raccoon weighing 50 lbs .. How do people ever rest with Somethings clodding about in their attics?

Never be caught in the dim

The No. 1 rule for an overnight guest is, understand where the critical gentle switches are. 

I set this rule at the top rated of my record soon after I received misplaced in a household in pitch dark. I went to the kitchen for some drinking water, and I couldn’t obtain my way again to my home.

My sense of course is not very good beneath any circumstance. In pitch darkish, it does not exist. And in a peculiar home, I could not find a mild swap. I you should not believe that I’ve ever felt so absurd. 

This was a significant house, and two or three sets of husbands and wives were being sleeping in different rooms although I groped along a hall, sensation for switches. A time or two I believed I experienced found the place wherever I belonged but I wasn’t sure and was frightened to go in and climb into mattress, for the rationale that I might be having into a single that was previously occupied.

When I situated a swap at last I discovered I was in the erroneous end of the hall. I question I was lost additional than a pair of minutes but it seemed like an eternity and which is why I advocate that property friends analyze the light-weight switches and the flooring strategy of the dwelling they’re sleeping in.

See you on down the street.



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