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Know this and know it well:

When you rent out my place on Airbnb, you’re in for a treat.

It’s cheap. It’s well located. It’s private. It’s clean. It smells like dryer sheets had a baby with a Glade Linen candle. You’ve got four walls to call your own, a baller shower, toilet paper, baby wipes, and a healthy supply of individual condom/lube packets I jacked from a gay bar.

It’s pretty much the best option on the net.

But know this also:

When you rent out my place on Airbnb, good God am I judging you.

You’re thrifty. You’re well-spoken. You’re private. You’re clean. Your neck smells like a specific kind of cologne that takes two washes to get out of the pillowcases. You’ve got too much luggage, a weak handshake, an inability to plan independently, and a healthy case of the Casual Racisms you caught growing up and never had to confront until you stayed in an Airbnb in a majority black neighborhood.

I dig your variety. The positives and negatives.

Some of you are lovely human beings.

Some of you are not. Some of you are ghostly clean. Some of you leave candle wax on my typewriter. Some of you leave me thank you gifts. Some of you refuse to follow a single rule.

Some of you even steal from me, little things you think I won’t miss or will chock up to forgetfulness. An undershirt. Two oranges. 75 cents in nickels. I won’t name names.

Arturo.

Oh, you think I won’t notice what you’ve done.

But I do. I know every inch of my place. Or centimeter, for my international guests. If you move something, anything, I know about it. Scratch marks on the floor. Shifted books. Fingerprints on windowsill. Patterns in the dust.

But whether good or bad, long term or short, man or woman, vacationer or conferencee, there’s one tie that binds you all together:

You’re obsessed with my mirror. And I need it to stop.

Your vanity, your compulsion to look at your outfit, your own image, head to toe, every day, ad nauseam? It’s destroying my table. Literally.

Every guest I’ve ever had has moved my table so they can see their full reflection in the the mirror on my armoire. I’ll admit, the table is poorly placed if your priorities skew mirror over table.

The table definitely obscures the view. But for the purposes of my world, of living my most authentic life, it’s perfect. I challenge you to find a better placed table in a livable studio apartment.

I get that you’re only in my place for a short period of time. And that you’re likely going to some super special events and/or functions while you’re in town. And you’ll probably be taking a bunch of dumb photos. But come on.

My table is old.

It has survived years of my benevolent neglect, the overblown art projects, the too-hot pots without pads, the nail-polish I painted over half the side and top at age sixteen, the ample amounts of pornography I hid in its expandable underside when I used it as a desk. It has survived moves from St. Paul to Topeka to Lawrence to Long Beach to Alexandria and up to DC.

Each time one of you slides it unceremoniously out of the way, that could be the end. It’s on its last legs. Yes. I went there.

I love it more than I love many people. Definitely a lot more than I love you.

So, please. Make full use of my place. Do whatever you need to do to make your stay comfortable. Steal my underwear. Break my shower caddy. Light your horrible sex candles on the dresser. Fill my world with your farts. Leave me the worst reviews.

But consider my plea. Stop moving the table.

Table > Mirror.

Forever.

Zach Straus

Zach Straus peaked at 15 and is mostly held together by masking tape.

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