Saturday, January 31, 2009

Couch Surfing, Part I

Since the beginning of January, I have slept in ten different places. These range from friends' beds, to parents' houses, to conference centers, to hotels, to cushions on floors. For the past week, I have been a couch-surfer. I am looking for jobs in Western Massachusetts and it seems much easier to do this from the area than from Long Island. This way, if I actually get an interview, I can easily get to it. Though it has only been a week, there are some rules I am learning:

1) Bring your own towel. It would have been much easier if I had and I feel like I wouldn't be crossing an awkward line.
2) You can sleep two nights in one place Monday-Wednesday, but three nights Thursday-Sunday.
3) If the person who is hosting you has a significant other, you may feel like you're invading even when they don't.
4) Air mattresses can easily be moved from room to room.
5) Make a list of who offers to host you and prioritize by sleeping arrangements--linoleum floors at the bottom.
6) Try to see your friends before you stay with them so that they get a chance to say how great it would be to have you on their floor.
7) Spend a lot of time in public spaces during the day--this makes you feel less of a burden.
8) Make friends with your friends' friends.
9) Be charming and positive.
10) Sleep whenever your host wants to. If they go to bed at 10, you go to bed at 10.

And now for the oops moment of the week:
Apparently, air mattresses are not meant to be left inflated for a few days. One of my closest friend's had been hosting me, but to give her some space, I ended up taking the air mattress from her room down the hall into her friend's room. Sometime during the night, I discovered that the air mattress was slowly deflating. I woke up later to discover that I was sleeping with air all around me, but none underneath me. I was effectively sleeping directly on the floor. I did not get up, I did not complain--I just tried to roll over and think of Korea. So rule number 11 is: deflate your air mattress every day and re-inflate it every night.