Monday, July 24, 2006

Thoughts on Couches

Been thinking a lot about Couch Surfing lately. I mean this is pretty much the way I am spending my summer after all. I sent out a shameless email (The subject line even said shameless request) to all of my friends in the area saying hey I am homeless can you help out? Gathered up the responses and organized in calendar form and Bang! just like that I am homeless-but-house until the end of August. I am now wondering how long I can extend this bit of goodness into September. When the housing runs out I tell my boss sorry and I drive back to PA for a while. No biggie. But a few more weeks up here couldn't hurt right?

In reality I have been being groomed for this my whole life. In high school I bump in to my mom at lunch and mention that a posse of friends is coming over for dinner and maybe the spending night and then it happens. There is always enough food, always enough space. Even the day the ball game got canceled and there was a tornado warning and we all came back to my house where there was no power... everyone got dinner. Take in all strays, honor all persons. There is always a place if you are hungry or tired or just need a break from where ever you are right?

Wrong. I found out in college that the world does not actually run on the hospitality principle I had bashed into my head all my life. Roommates sometimes have problems with inviting random people over for endless days. Silly humans. Shrug. I do what I can.

So the other night I get whapped over the head with this concept by a shuffles at no o'clock in the morning while I am at work. I mean imagine, hundreds upon hundreds of people around the world offering up a place to crash for the night in return for... a place to crash for the night and maybe some stories besides. I will make you a cup of Honduran cafe and we can flip through my Peru pictures while I tell you about the day the brakes broke in Haiti if you lend me a corner of your floor for a few days and show me your work from that summer you spent in Nepal painting landscapes and learning how to make curry. And I will wash dishes if you cook tonight. But these people don't just use the system, they take care of the system and each other. I guess a few weeks before I joined there was this crazy crash of everything and so world travelers traveled and met together to fix things and worked round and round the clock. Those that couldn't program baked bread those that were unable to join sent encouragement and housed weary travelers on there way to or from Couch Surf Central. So it exists again or still or yet...2.0! At my fingertips I have a searchable database of new friends and people who think like me. Lets see the world and meet people and do things and then have folks over so we can share stories. I like stories.

The two things that bug me most about being a vagabond are the unreliability of cooking opportunities and tools and the inability to host. I can half do both now as I am house sitting and that is better than not at all I suppose. I don't know. When I get back to PA I am going to look up a fellow to meet for a cup of coffee and if I make it out to Idaho I will find someone for breakfast (since there are about 10 coffee shops for every .5 people I figure its more original). I will see if I can stop off for a few days in Ceiba to enjoy the night life before I head on to Trujillo. When I make it over to Europe I will give you a call. Can you pick me up at the train station at 9p? Stellar. And as long as I have a bed or a couch or a patch of floor to lend...let me know what you need.

-Jn

3 comments:

North Mainer said...

Couch surfing is fun. It's a sport that shows which friends give without second thought...and carries none of the modern fad neccessities and accessories sports often do. Just a pillow and a cell phone. It is perhaps a sport I need to get better at.

shuff said...

: D

Ramblin' Ed said...

The best part of being a vagabond?
The vagabonding.