be our guest

I’m writing from the balcony of a VRBO rental. I’m a stone’s throw from the ocean. I can hear it roaring. It is very peaceful, calming, soothing. We chose this rental because it boasted a beautiful view, and they allow dogs. And we appreciate it so much.

There was a comment in the reviews about not providing ample toilet paper. I ignored it, thinking that surely they’ve resolved this inefficiency by now. As I stood in my closet at home, I considered packing a roll of T.P., but again dismissed my impulse because where in the world is there a rental that doesn’t provide adequate amounts of booty wiping products?

Oh! Here it is!

Hotels always have rolls waiting in the wings. All the other rentals I’ve stayed in provided several rolls, and tissue paper for noses.

I should have heeded the review. No kidding, there is one roll of toilet paper per toilet for our week’s stay. The cupboards are empty of any reserves. And there isn’t a tissue box anywhere. Every time I sneeze, I have to decide if I really, really need to blow my nose, or if I can just suck it back in. It’s like Sophie’s Choice: my nose or my bottom? Which gets the limited supply of paper?

I actually stood in a local cafe bathroom that had a cart full of supplies and wondered if I could hide a roll under my shirt. Would anyone notice? How, in midlife, have I been slung back to this collegiate foraging mentality?

This rental is nicely furnished, sure. But there isn’t an adequate carpet at the door for shoe removal. Nor is there a mat in front of the bathtub. Exiting after bathing is a risky behavior. The furniture slides around on the cold, tiled floor.

The drawers are empty in the living room. Not a deck of cards or Scrabble board to be found. No aluminum foil or resealable bags fill the kitchen drawers. There isn’t a beach towel or a beach chair available for use. Perhaps the apartment owner has a vested interest in keeping the $9.99 beach store down the strip in business.

Our instructions are on a laminated paper in a basket on the granite kitchen counter here at our destination. Therein, the lack of beach accoutrement is first mentioned. Included is the necessity to submit our dog’s vaccine status. But to whom, it’s unclear. And as I didn’t have that instruction before leaving home, I don’t have it with me to surrender. At check out we are to return the parking pass. What parking pass? Did there used to be one in the basket many visitors ago?

These instructions were not in the original listing or in the welcome email we received once our reservation was confirmed. We arrived to find out how absolutely unwelcoming this rental actually is.

This laminated guide informs that cleaning supplies have intentionally been left out, available for us to use. The author asks that we respect the property and the cleaning staff.

We’re not messy people, we will leave the unit sans trash. We will pick up after ourselves, not because we’ve been asked to, but because that’s who we are. Frankly, if I owned a beachfront property, I don’t know that I would be willing to rent it out: my personal affects locked in a tub in the closet or in the locked utility closet. Eventually I would, too, be beaten down by terrible guests and bad behavior and provide the absolute bare minimum as a defense.

I think it would be terrifying to let strangers into my property. People are gross and disrespectful. Just before we left home, I read in the local paper how a retreat house was trashed by renters in the most vile of ways. We’re not talking some potato chip crumbs in the couch cushions, but deliberate vandalism. So, yea, I get it, be cautious for sure. But could you spare a few more squares?

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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