House Rules

OK, Knucklehead.

You’re making your first visit to you new home on the Left Coast. This time it’s for eleven days; next time, who knows when or for how long? A couple days? Two weeks? Eight months? To quote Robert Frost, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Happily, in this case.

Nevertheless, it’s still my house, my rules, boy. It’s best to review them before the visit. Some are classics. Some are new, befitting the change of venue (and the fact that you’re over 21). Infractions of any will result in swift, severe consequences. That’s right: epic whining from yours truly. Oh, I’ll do it. You know I will.

  1. I’ve accepted that you like to channel-surf. I understand the concept of “just browsing.” But the whole reason it frustrates me is because you have the remote. And just as I’m beginning to get curious in what’s going to happen next – ZZZIIIIIP! – it’s gone. It’s like having a book ripped out of your hand in mid-sentence. I can’t take that for eleven days. So at a sitting, I’ll allow you twenty minutes of channel-surfing. Then you have to pick something. ANYTHING.
  2. Here’s an oldie, but goodie: if you happen to run across a broadcast movie I have in The Collection, after you’ve been watching for ten minutes, you must quit watching the broadcast version and pop in the disc to watch the entire flick. I didn’t bring up any knucklehead of mine to watch hacked-up Bowdlerized versions of a real film. As my mother used to say about books, “If the author went to all the trouble to write it, the least you could do is read it.”
  3. Of course, if it’s Rocky II-IV, you’re welcome to zap through to the fight scenes. Sorry, Barth.
  4. I buy good beer, which you’re old enough to drink. I don’t want to ever catch you drinking beer out of the bottle, not in my house. Good beer should be decanted into a pint glass, so that you can get your nose into the bouquet as you drink it. That’s the entire point of pint glasses, of which I have plenty. The only exception is if we’re sitting in lawn chairs in the back yard, which have those little pouches in the armrests that will accommodate a bottle, but not a glass so much. Otherwise….
  5.  If I ask you, “What do you want from the supermarket?” and you reply, “Anything is fine,” you deserve whatever you get.
  6. I raised you to be a moral man. Not to follow my ethical values or anyone else’s, but your own, and to work at discovering what they are and to work at being true to them. I trust you, and I trust your choices, even if they might not be mine. So if there is someone you are bedding in your life outside this house, should that person come to visit overnight, that person will share a bed with you here. It just seems hypocritical of me to expect anything else. Your friends have been my friends. Your family is my family.
  7. But for god’s sake, keep it down. I’m right across the hall.
  8. You might have heard that Washington state has legal weed, and for persons 21 or over, that is true. It’s easy and safe to purchase, but there are still limited places to consume it. You can’t smoke it in public, or even at the place where you bought it, or anywhere that prohibits smoking in general. You can smoke it at home, but for aesthetic reasons, I don’t want smoking or vaping of any kind inside the house. That leaves the backyard or garage, and you’re welcome to toke up there if you’re so inclined (no toking and driving, same as drinking – save it for when you’re in for the night). The catch is, if you’re a social smoker, I can’t join you. I still have cravings from when I quit smoking cigarettes before you were born, and I’m afraid that smoking anything at all might wake the beast. So while I can’t join you, I’ll sit with you and have a beer if you like. I only say this so you don’t buy more pot than you can consume during your stay. I don’t want the rest, so unless you want to swallow baggies in the airport before your flight east, it’s just going to go to waste.
  9. For the first few nights you’re here (or knowing you, early mornings), I’m probably going to peek in and look at you while you’re sleeping, just like when you were three, and five, and seventeen. That’s just going to happen.
  10. Rainy days mean nothing in the Pacific Northwest. We’re still going out, still walking the dog, still visiting Rainier, still bopping around downtown Olympia. And put that umbrella away. You’re embarrassing us.
  11. If you put a snack down on the coffee table, the dog is going to eat it. No use getting mad at him. Or me. This is his house, too.
  12. Any human being that walks into this house and makes a snack has to ask every other human being in this house if they want one, too. That goes for me as well as you.
  13. I’m going to randomly hug you and say, “I can’t believe you’re here.” That’s another thing that’s just going to happen.

Glad we got this all straightened out. See you at SeaTac on Thursday.

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