Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let Me Entertain You

Our very first visitor from the outside world left on Tuesday. It's hard to judge how it went. It's challenging playing tour guide in a place where you're just a step above tourist yourself. But I think it went pretty well. A few wrong turns, a few closed restaurants and attractions, but overall I think we managed to present Asheville in a positive light.

I do enjoy having visitors and entertaining and having parties and such. I don't know where that comes from exactly. I'm tempted to blame it on Martha, but even in my pre-Martha days, I was hosting little get-togethers in my college dorm room. I think it's because when people take the time to visit you or attend your party, they're validating your place in their lives and saying, "Yes, I like you enough to spend this time with you." In its most basic and primal form, it's proof of existence. "I exist. I'm here. Someone came and visited me." That validation plus a good party theme and cocktails makes for a very potent mixture.

Besides our recent visitor, we haven't had any parties or gatherings yet. I'm at odds with the house at the moment. I haven't succeeded in bending it to my will yet, and that's proving to be a big obstacle on the road to entertaining. At a glance, the house is attractive and nicely situated in a big yard on a small lake. Maybe it's because of the age of the house, or maybe it's just been used as a rental for too long, but the house itself seems to have given up hope and now just wants to jump into the lake and end it all.

No matter how much I scrub, the house still looks dirty. No matter how many lights I turn on, it remains dark. We can't put holes in the walls, so the walls are bare and cold, lending a spartan air of domestic ennui. Every day is a battle to keep the surrounding natural environs from reclaiming the whole lot. Still, I persist. If bleach won't clean it, I'll put a nice rug over it. If it's too dark, I'll get some high-powered flood lights to brighten it up a bit. And I can always prop our artwork up on bookcases or easels for a South meets SoHo kind of look.

"What would Martha do?" I ask myself. She'd tear down that bitch of a bearing wall and put a window where a window ought to be. Wait, that was Joan. I get them confused sometimes, especially when I'm holding a can of Comet and an axe.

Y'all come visit real soon, ya hear!"

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