Be My Guest

 Me and my pops swimming in a sea of gifts. 

Me and my pops swimming in a sea of gifts. 

I've just returned to the city after visiting friends and family in North Carolina for the holidays. I had a great time. I stayed with my parents, which means the lodging accommodations were superb. Dave and Cid Brown are an incredible renovation and interior decoration duo. I'm convinced there have been times they considered splitting up and stayed together, not for the kids, but for the house. An average weekend for them is like an HGTV show if the hosts bickered and second guessed each other's decisions. Now that my two sisters and I have all moved out they've got this big, nice house where half the rooms are now "guest bedrooms". These rooms vary in quality and each have their own little quirks. Strengths and weaknesses. Pros and Cons.

Let's start with the downstairs guest room. This is the first room my girlfriend and I were checked into upon being dropped off by our limousine (2011 Prius playing conservative talk radio) driver (my mom). This room has been a guest bedroom longer than any other. It's housed them all over the years. Aunts, Uncles, grandparents and friends who got too drunk to operate heavy machinery. This is a veteran guest chamber and you can bet that it's seen some things. It's the only bedroom on the first floor and it's in a low traffic area, far from the kitchen and commonly used entrances. I'm not gonna beat around the bush here. If you're looking to have sex without being heard by my parents or other co-residents, this is your room. So, what's not to like? Occupants of this room share their bathroom with the public. So you're gonna have a lot of people going in and out, eyeballing your sonicare, trying on your retainers, drying their hands on your bath towel and who knows what else. Another serious downside is the brightness within the room during morning and mid-day hours. Come 9 am, this room is a goddamned solar farm. The only deterrent to light is a single layer of blinds. It's a cruel design. This room gives you the sound-proofing and solitude to stay up all night indulging your carnal urges, but refuses you the darkness needed to recuperate from a vigorous session.

Now, let's move to the second floor. Here we have two more guest rooms that share a bathroom. Let's start with my sister Katie's old bedroom. In some states it may be illegal to even call this a bedroom. It's a storage facility whose contents happen to include two twin beds, among many, many other boxes. This room would make for the most boring game of "the floor is lava" as there would only be about 2 square feet of lava. To the untrained eye, the space may seem like a cluttered mess but it actually contains a lot of history. If you have the patience to sift through these artifacts you could piece together our story from these VHS tapes, old soccer uniforms and infomercial products. If you'e a hoarder seeking a familiar environment, you should request this room.

We'll talk about that other second floor bedroom in a moment but, in order to save the best for last, I want to jump up to the third floor first. We're talking about the converted-attic penthouse bedroom. It's the polar opposite of Katie's old bedroom, containing sprawling acreage of plush carpets. My sisters and I each lived here during our high school years and there was a time when this was the crown jewel of the house. But throughout it's recent vacancy, furniture has been slowly removed, leaving it almost completely gutted. Staying here is like camping inside. It's an austere environment. If you're in this room you're on an air mattress. It's not totally lacking frills though, such as a private bathroom including a shower with a bench. Mid-shower you can just sit down and reflect on how your shower is going. If you look in the bathroom drawers you'll find complementary tubes of expired acne treatment creams left by former teenage residents. It's isolated location on the top floor may lead you to believe you can enjoy the coital benefits of the first floor guest room but keep it in your pants. It's positioned directly over my parent's bedroom, so there is a noise-ordinance to comply with. Perfect for a quiet hermit who doesn't mind sleeping on a vinyl balloon.

That brings us back down to the second floor, to our grand finale. The very best guest room in the home of Dave and Cynthia was my bedroom during most of my childhood and a little bit of adulthood. If you arrive at my parent's house and are given your choice of room say, "Put me in Ryan's old bedroom" and say it quickly, before someone else does. Don't be surprised if you're put on a wait-list. If my older sister Ashley arrived before you, then you can expect it. This happened to me yet again on this most recent visit. I had to spend a couple nights in a lesser guest room waiting for her to fly back from whence she came. Was it worth the wait? Unquestionably. When you walk into this room you may be underwhelmed. It's not a large room but it is kept clean. It doesn't have a private bathroom or anything blatantly mind-blowing. But this room's strength comes from it's focus. It's all about one thing and one thing only. It's all about the sleep. The bed sports a queen size mattress I can only describe as al dente. Not too hard, not too mushy. It's the only bed in the world I prefer over my very own. It's two windows are the only ones in the house equipped with room-darkening shades. They were installed during the 6 months I lived here after college when my work schedule mandated the taking of mid-day naps. You're all welcome. No matter the weather conditions or time of day, you can roll these shades down and make it feel like a 6 am thunderstorm. This room is so good that Ashley spent 4 days in there battling a vicious flu before she vacated and I moved in anyway. I happily rolled the pathological dice for several nights spent in such ideal nocturnal conditions. What's more is that I DID NOT get sick. I speculate that any remaining traces of the virus couldn't attack me because they were fast asleep.

So there you have it. If you're ever staying at my parent's home in Raleigh, NC you can now make an educated decision. Hope you're all having a good 2015. I plan to keep posts coming weekly, so stay tuned and if you're local to NYC, look at my upcoming shows page to see where I'll be doing stand up in the city. I'm at The Comic Strip this Saturday, January 10th.

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