The Houseguest Factor

We have a houseguest arriving in a few days — my best friend is visiting Portugal for the first time. As usual when guests are imminent, I have swung into high gear with preparations, most of which involve projects that should have been done some time ago. Everything from oiling door hinges, to installing organizational hangers in our brick walls, to caulking the tub, to vacuuming six months worth of debris out of the car — you name it and I’ve probably done it in the last two weeks.

Why is it that we tolerate the status quo indefinitely, but the very idea of a guest seeing our normal state of affairs sends us into a tizzy of tidying? For three months I’ve been looking at the black mold accumulating on our tub caulk and thinking, “I’ve got to fix that.” It never got past the thought stage (and the guilt-of-inaction stage) until this week.

There should be a name for this facet of human behavior, and since I’m not aware of anything official, I am hereby calling it the Houseguest Factor. Used properly, it can be a very positive influence. Of course, it can also be taken to an unhealthy extreme.

I wonder if I have time to paint the hallway?


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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5 Responses to The Houseguest Factor

  1. CathyW says:

    You’ve been working for 2 weeks ??I salute you. My sister arrives in 2 days and I haven’t started yet! My housework revolves round visits, why clean twice is my motto lol
    As I had an unknown guest for 24 hours in her room there is quite a lot to do, a jackdaw can make a lot of mess when he is ticked off at being caught by the cat.

  2. M. says:

    LOL. Very similar to Houseguest Factor is Spring Fever. The outcome is the same, only the reason is different – warm weather at last after a long, cold winter.

    • oregon expat says:

      Long, cold winter? I can’t relate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Actually we do get Spring Fever here, too. My problem is that once the sun is toasty warm, I’m disinclined to do anything but bask in it like a lizard. Productivity goes out the window.

  3. JJ says:

    Why is it I don’t notice how disorganized my humble abode really is until the perpetual arrival of guests? You have an excellent point with your comment on living in a status quo, day to day collection of “filth”. The arrival of my mother for her monthly visit tends to break my status quo.

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