Monday, February 16, 2004

Visitors...of the Unexpected Kind

Boyfriend was scheduled to do a club gig from 10-12 last night following a parking lot blues show put on by the same club and featuring three acts from the States. The outdoor show was supposed to run 6:00-9:00 but didn't start until 7:00...and didn't end until almost 11:00. That's past our bedtime! Boyfriend and I were sitting on a planter box ledge in the courtyard next to the parking lot, listening to the last of the outdoor show and wondering how we were going to stay awake through his gig. (We really ARE getting old...and tired of club gigs.)

Boyfriend had hired a bass player he often works with and a young guitarist who lives on St. John. Since the gig would end after the last ferry back to St. John, the guitarist was going to need a place to sleep. He had taken the car ferry over with his girlfriend. I was meeting both of them for the first time.

Gig's over...everyone's tired...the club manager has told the guitarist and his girlfriend they can stay at the club's "band house." Boyfriend and I are leading them to the place (before heading home) since we lived in the original band house (next door to the current location). Let me mention once again that St. Thomas is VERY hilly. These houses are situated well above Skyline Drive, which you might have guessed by its name is already quite high up. We hadn't been to this location since we moved from there in August of 2000. Boyfriend and I are suddenly getting queasy remembering how hideously steep (and long) the driveway was. We also remembered that there's not really any place to turn around once you reach the house and its individual driveway...and the main driveway is NOT one you'd want to back down, unless you get your kicks by scaring yourself silly. We pull off the side of Skyline Drive adjacent to the driveway and suggest that the guitarist go first, since we'll be the ones who'll need to turn around and leave. Enter nauseuous feeling in the pit of our stomachs.

There's an additional twist: the bands from the States are already camped out at the band house. Boyfriend tells the guitarist that if there's not room for them there, they can crash at our place. But what was the club manager thinking even sending them up there to check it out? If you've got two 4-piece bands, another keyboardist and her friend and who knows how many hangers-on crashing in a 4-bedroom house, it doesn't take a degree in mathematics to see that this isn't gonna be pretty. So the guitarist heads up the driveway, we follow and I suddenly thnk, "Hey, it doesn't seem that steep..." But then it gets steeper and our little caravan stops...because we're confused. It's pitch dark. Boyfriend and I have pulled off into someone's driveway. He asks, "Is this it?" "No." And in front of the guitarist's pickup is a huge (closed) gate. That really threw us for a loop--where the hell had that come from? I suggest we abandon this little adventure and just have them stay with us. We realized later that we'd missed the first fork in the main driveway--we'd gone left instead of right. I was just happy to be out of there. (There are zillions of steep-ass, scary driveways here--I hate them.)

I jumped out of the car to tell them to follow us to our place, but I warned them that the place was pretty cluttered. (We certainly weren't anticipating houseguests.) We have several airbeds (from previous visitors), so about 1:30 this morning boyfriend was standing in the living room pumping up an airbed. We were asleep about 2:00 and his alarm went off at 6:00. I had the day off today, but felt sorry for him having to work on so little sleep so I drove him to work. Afterwards I tiptoed back into the house, past our sleeping visitors, and crawled back into bed to read. About 8:30 I thought I heard them deflating the airbed. I gave them a few minutes to "get decent," but when I went out to greet them, they were gone. They had left the folded airbed and linens in a neat stack and left a very sweet "thank you" note.

This was a monumental occasion in our lives. It's the first time we've ever had unexpected overnight guests. Every time we've had houseguests, we've scrubbed our little condo with a frenzy and made it look as spotless and perfect as possible. (And we did the same thing when we were playing hosts at the band house.) What a damn relief it was to say, "Here, sleep on this...see ya in the morning." And you know what? It didn't matter a bit to them. A good lesson in letting go of expectations...of ourselves.


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