I like to consider myself an optimist 94% of the time. The other 6% I live in a state of anxiety about whether or not I have made a terrible mistake about everything I have ever done in life. Owing to the fact that my life is still occurring minute by minute, I revert back to my Susie or Suzi or Soosie Sunshine mode and just mosey along. I often think I should have been named Susan which was another popular name . Then I would have been concerned how my parents decided to spell it. Some things are just better left alone.
I try to harness the optimist as much as possible. When summoned from my inner self, it is usually at a moment when the possibility of a pseudo disaster is pending. I use the term pseudo because it is never as bad as a real one, just a perceived possibility of one. My FHB and I have “discovered” the use of Airbnb over the course of the last seven years. We are hardly the pioneers but we were probably the first of our social group to consider the idea of staying in someone’s house, sight unseen (and that could be the Bates Motel owner) based on good reviews (posted by friends of the Bates’ family, perhaps) for a vacation, weekend or just a get out of town for a few days. Some of it was based on our frugal outlook (i.e. cheap view). The first booking was in Carmel, California, a place that has five million dollar homes that are considered “starter homes” among many multiple million dollar homes on the Pacific near Big Sur. Descriptions, back then, used words like cozy. We have since determined that cozy is just another word for tiny and cramped. The queen sized bed was pushed up against the wall of the teeny tiny room. I got the wall side which necessitated climbing over my FHB every time I wanted to get out of bed. The foot of the bed rested against the dresser which was conveniently located unless you actually wanted to put things in the drawers. The bathroom was steps away , like three, and the possibility that we both could be in the bathroom simultaneously would have only been possible if we were the Flying Wallendas. The house was one of the five million dollar ones (so said the owner) who lived upstairs and brought us fresh coffee and was always heading out “to yoga”. She was very pleasant and gave us a good review as being “a lovely older couple who kept to themselves”. I don’t remember Janet Leigh fraternizing too much with Anthony Perkins.
One of the places we visited stood out, literally on a piece of land, which we could see in the distance, when we arrived in a snowstorm. We could not determine how to enter the Tiny House. The owner had left instructions that the key was located under a rock. This was in Vermont. Vermont has many rocks. When I tried to call the owner, she was on her way to a “Bernie” rally and some how we got disconnected, and we actually never met her face to face, which was a good thing for her. We found out that the rear door was unlocked, and found our way in to a very charming and creative little 250 square foot design, replete with dead flies. After we got rid of the flies, we settled in to a lovely weekend in Bennington.
Probably the strangest night we spent was after we had returned from a trip to Nova Scotia. We had gotten off the ferry in Portland. Maine and following a very delicious dinner, we wound our way to a place owned by a self described “world traveller”. We initially could not find the place and had to have the property owner direct us in to what we determined the next morning was a housing project of questionable tenancy. The owner met us at at the door and introduced us to several dogs that seemed to live with her. Luckily we are fans of dogs or it could have been hairy, no pun intended. She ushered us into a dark space, later identified as the kitchen and down some stairs to a room with a large bed and no door, just a screen behind which she stayed. My FHB hissed at me (since I am the one who “finds” our places), that he was going to sleep on top of the sheets and in his clothes. The apartment (?) seemed to have only the one bedroom, a bathroom, with very fluffy towels (as I wrote in my review). We were very tired after the ferry ride, not that we steered the ferry, and fell asleep with a sense of dread. I slept with my purse in my arms and my phone under my pillow. We woke in the morning, grateful to be alive. We called out to our host and no one answered. We pulled back the screen and found that we were alone. In fact, we could not determine where she or the pack of dogs, had disappeared to or slept. We didn’t take a lot of time investigating. I left a lovely thank you note which pretty much said, thanks for not murdering us in our sleep, and we went on our way.
We have met some delightful people, and had hosts that we would love to have as friends, if we didn’t live in another part of the country which might be inconvenient. We have been in brownstones, cottages, tiny houses and apartments. We have gone without heat or air conditioning when it was cold and when it was brutally hot. When hosts gave us lemons, we found the sweet to complement the sour. When we were cold, we just found the warmth in one another. When we survived a misadventure, it became a story of unexpected moments and a tale to be shared.
I guess that my inner Suzie Sunshine remains in wait for the next story, and the one after that. We laughed, we swore, we drove away fast!