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?