• Image about Shahin Takes Off 03-15-2007
Staying at a Friend's:
A How (Not) To

All I wanted to do was buy theater tickets. But now I am staring at a disaster.

"Rrrnnn," she says, brushing her teeth.

I consider asking if she's disturbed anything in the bathroom ­­- moved the toothpaste from one side of the sink to the other or something like that. But I have bigger problems.

"I think I broke their computer."
"I don't know. It's just acting weird."
"No, I didn't do anything like that. I just clicked on Internet Explorer and then … this."
"Okay, but hurry. I'm freaking out over here."

I turn my attention back to the broken computer.

"And don't touch anything in there," I say.

Here we are for the weekend, at this fabulous place in Manhattan, with its fabulous view of the Hudson River and Midtown. Rather than loving every fabulous second of it, I am a nervous wreck.

The place is the apartment of our longtime friends. They let us stay here while they're away. They're in Chicago or Paris or somewhere, having a fabulous time, not worrying about breaking a computer or moving toothpaste from one side of the sink to the other. That's because they are staying at a hotel, not at a friend's house.

It should be easy, staying at a friend's house while they're away. It's not. For one thing, you have to make sure you leave everything as it was, which is, to say, unbroken. And the main thing is to not snoop through their stuff. Or to not appear as though you did.