David Sedaris pens a delightful post on being a host in England after acquiring a house with not one, but two guest rooms:
Three of my sisters visited us in Sussex last Christmas, so Gretchen and Amy took a guest room each. We gave Lisa the master bedroom and moved next door to the converted stable I use as my office. One of the things Hugh noted during their stay was that, with the exception of Amy and me, no one in my family ever says good night. Rather, they just leave the room—sometimes halfway through dinner—and reappear the following morning. My sisters were considered my guests, but because there was a group of them and they could easily entertain one another I was more or less free to go about my business. Not that I didn’t spend time with them. In various pairings, we went on walks and bike rides, but otherwise they sat in the living room talking, or gathered in the kitchen to study Hugh at the stove. I’d join them for a while, and then explain that I had some work to do. This meant going next door to the stable, where I’d switch on my computer and turn to Google, thinking, I wonder what Russell Crowe is up to?
My favorite parts of the piece were the anecdotes of walking into conversations and overhearing strange snippets:
I walked into the living room after returning from a bike ride one afternoon and heard her saying to her mother, Joan, who was also there, “Don’t you just love the feel of an iguana?”
That same night, after my bath, I overheard her asking, “Well, can’t you make it with camel butter?”
I thought of asking for details—“Make what with camel butter?”—but decided I preferred the mystery. That often happens with company. I’ll forever wonder what my guest Kristin meant when I walked into the yard one evening and heard her saying, “Mini goats might be nice.” Or, odder still, when Hugh’s father, Sam, came to see us in France with an old friend he knew from the State Department. The two had been discussing the time they’d spent in Cameroon in the late sixties, and I entered the kitchen to hear Mr. Hamrick say, “Now, was that guy a Pygmy, or just a false Pygmy?”
There were two disturbing (to me) sentences in the piece. Can you guess what they are?
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