Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Couch Surfers (installment tres)

See the beginning of our couchsurfing story here.
And part deux here.

   Note:  For the sake of anonymity we shall for now dub our couchsurfers Romeo and Juliet. 
At least until I get an all clear smoke signal to reveal their real names, faces,
and social security numbers to the world. 
   You would think we were awaiting two people who were sure to change our lives forever.  (Maybe we were...)  Handsome and I are accustomed to house guests, of course, as well as meeting new people and travelling ourselves, but this was a whole new ball game.  A strange melange of the three experiences.  Anticipation was thick in the downstairs of our house.

   I tried to be cool and calm, like him, but the harder I tried this the squeakier my voice sounded and the more I walked around stiffly on my tip toes.  Ridiculous behavior for a woman my age.  Which is 25.

   Everything was as in order as it could be and the head lights now shone still, directly in our front window.  A passenger door was opening.  Together we stepped out onto the front sidewalk to welcome our guests, and I knew immediately we were gonna like them!  They hummed with that good vibe, even from eight feet away.

   We all four traded introductions and warm, brisk handshakes.  I think I may have, without warning, attack-hugged them.  It happens.  My policy is hug first, ask questions and make apologies later.  Luckily, Romeo and Juliet both laughed at this and followed us inside the house with big smiles on their travel-weary faces.

   I love big, genuine smiles. On anyone.  This is one of my favorite things in the world, and that night I was gifted with two right off the bat.  All remaining traces of anxiety dissolved in that moment. 

   We gave them a super brief tour of the downstairs rooms, assuming that after hours of driving they would need the water closet.  Pacino, our macaw, was overwhelmed by the late night appearance of new faces and immediately flooded the room with jungle calls, big, juicy greetings like HELLOOOOO, and exaggerated full body bouncing.  Inwardly I quizzed myself, "You did warn them about this, right?  Surely you told these good people that they would be sharing the downstairs with a noisy, messy, feathered toddler?"

   "Oh this must be Pacino!"  said Juliet.

   Handsome smoothly up shifted unto Host gear, one of the sexiest roles he plays in my opinion.  Yes, I can throw a little shin dig on my own, but it is never as fun as when we do it together.  Hosting, that is.  Ahem.
   Then, in the few minutes it took the three of them to unload suitcases and sort of settle in, I finished detailing the spread of food and drink.  Every light downstairs was on; Cajun music was playing in the background (light and bubbly, festive tunes, uncommon enough to probably not have negative connotations for anyone); and Pacino had more or less composed himself. 
   If Romeo and Juliet had big, genuine smiles a moment ago, their expressions changed to enthusiastic at the mention of food.  We all found seats at the dining room table.  Romeo decided to forgo the use of a fork , placing me in a small, cozy corner of heaven...

   Ladies and gentlemen who cook for friends or family, is there anything as gratifying as watching people consume and really enjoy your food?  Even if it is just from abject starvation, as may have been the case this evening, you know you are meeting a need in that moment, and it is such a good feeling. 
   We all four lingered at the table for well over an hour, refilling plates and glasses, nibbling on dessert, plunging into a sudden acquaintance.  At some point we migrated toward the couches and struck up a spontaneous dance off with Pacino. 

   Can you even imagine how happy this bird was? 

   Although it was a weeknight and we'd been busy all day, my energy surged around 10:30 p.m.  I felt like I could stay up all night talking with this young couple, soaking up our differences and similarities, celebrating that no murders were on the agenda.  I learned volumes about them.  Their origins and current lives, their travels, their plans, the books they read and the movies they watch.  Two fascinating human beings whose paths we may never have otherwise crossed.  We traded plenty of stuff about ourselves, too.  I mentally added a few good sounding titles to my reading list per Juliet's suggestion.

   It was probably close to midnight when the yawns and crackly spine twists became frequent enough to agree it was bedtime.  I showed Juliet a few provisions in their bath room, prepped the coffee maker for an early morning wake up, and attack-hugged everyone once more.  Even Handsome, ignoring the fact that we were about to retire to our bed as a pair. 

  No foot rubs to boast.  But on the bright side, also no knives.  We survived to enjoy a great night's sleep and then our first couchsurfing breakfast...

To be continued...


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