The Houseguest From Hell: What I Learned From The Stranger on My Couch

One of the more subtle markers that you’ve transitioned to adulthood is that you move from being the one who’s always crashing at other people’s places to the one who’s hosting house guests of your own. Usually, you’re hosting a friend or relative. Occasionally – as happened to me not so long ago – you end up playing hostess to a near stranger. And you discover – in examining someone else’s life up close and personal – that you actually end up learning more about yourself.

This weekend, I was delighted to have an essay I wrote entitled “Attack of the Sofa Surfer” (translated: couch potato) appear in the Financial Times House and Home section. It recounts my own near-death experience with an unexpected visitor and the lessons – for adulthood – acquired therein. Here’s how it starts…

We’ve all heard the story of the house guest from hell who shows up on the doorstep and completely invades your space. I had a friend whose mother-in-law came for a week and reorganised the spice rack alphabetically. Another friend’s nephew decided that the living room could double nicely as his own personal yoga studio. Then there was the neighbour’s bulimic au pair who liked to store extra pizza … under her bed.

I sympathised with these tales of domestic disturbance. But our experience was worse…

Read the whole story here.

Image: Couch Potato by Yo_Unroe via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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2 Responses to The Houseguest From Hell: What I Learned From The Stranger on My Couch

  1. LPC says:


  2. […] (I finally got the official change of address form from the Post Office today!), we also have a house guest. Thank goodness she likes to read a […]

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