Houseguests and Constipation

By an anonymous friend of Fred C. Klein

Key West winters bring all manner of cold-weather guests.  Some you love, some you tolerate and some you thought you loved.  As I’ve grown older, much older, I have grown to hate them all. Until they leave.  Then they’re ok again.

I realize that I can take anyone for 2 days max.  Day 3 starts my stress and stomach problems.  The stomach problems may be exacerbated by the fact that Day 3 coincides with heavy drinking.  It’s the only way I can cope with their quirky behavior.

My first guest this season was an old friend from New York who now lives in Florida.  He doesn’t come for the weather – he comes to see us.  The fact that he turns out to be my favorite guest doesn’t quite coincide with my finding him to be very right winged on Day 3.  He listens to the most appalling Podcasts – men talking about nonsense mostly but punctuated by embarrassingly sexist descriptions of women.  Then there’s him constantly pointing out wrinkles in women’s necks.  Whether in public or on TV, he talks about how old the women are by the amount of neck wrinkles they have.  Yes, like circles in a tree trunk.  He’s back home and I love him again.  After all, we all have faults.

Guest 2 is a very controlling woman who lives in Texas.  She is a very loving, wonderful person who would fly from Texas to New York if I said I had no one available to pick me up from a colonoscopy. But she is right ALL. THE. TIME. Some things I had no idea I wasn’t doing correctly: lighting candles (I don’t have the time here to explain to you the specifics), how to correctly walk my dog, how to hold a leash correctly when walking my dog, how to properly clean the back seat of my car (I did it with Windex, but there was some sand in the seams), how to organize my kitchen cabinets and drawers, oh the list goes on and on.  My husband was not immune from corrective training: he put the headboard on backwards (??), he doesn’t know the proper shoes to wear with his shorts, he leaves lights on (I sometimes correct him on that count, but a guest…really?), he put the wrong type door on our bathroom, etc, etc, etc…….

Guest #3 was not a full-time guest and he wasn’t supposed to be a guest at all.  He booked a room at a nearby hotel, but he hated it.  In fact, he hated everything about Key West.  So he stayed at our house with his dog all day and slept in his hotel room at night.  And he complained most of the day.  About everything.  He even complained that we had an old fashioned toilet bowl!  Not sure what a modern, acceptable toilet bowl would be other than a Japanese model with some kind of intrusive up-flush. My husband works in his closed, probably-wrong-door office during the day so he doesn’t get the full impact of semi-Guest #3.  He hates the sun, so he won’t sit out on the front porch or the backyard.  He sits, with his dog, on the living room couch watching episodes of NCIS while I go about my business. He joins us for going out to lunch where he complains about how Key West is dirty, non-functional (when service is slow) and, when I point out the incredibly stunning view of the ocean at our feet, he explains that 500 miles of Florida have the same view.  One day, as we were going out for lunch, he left his dog at our house. He warned me that the dog had bad diarrhea.  He lined the floor near my back door with paper towels and wished for the best.  Me too!

They’re all gone now.  I have found the cure for the stomach stress – one burrito from the Pescado food truck and all my woes go down that old-fashioned bowl.

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