Even before I moved to San Francisco, friends have joked that I’m running some sort of flop house. My San Francisco apartment has been dubbed “Vicky’s Home for Wayward Australians” (which isn’t entirely fair to the Canadians, Austrians, Pittsburghians, Portlanders, Bostonians and others who’ve stayed here).
So, yes, I own this. While my apartment is small and poorly arranged for visitors, while I’m very set in my solo-living ways, while my schedule never meshes with that of my guests, I still keep saying “yes, please” every time someone asks to crash here.
This past weekend a friend came to visit (for tea, not to stay). I told her I had a house guest arriving the following weekend and her reaction was, “You know, you can say no. I do it all the time.”
I thought about that for a while after she left and decided something: I can’t say no.
The people who ask to stay at my place aren’t just friends. They’re friends in need. Could they afford to stay in a hotel? Maybe, but it would cause a hardship. Furthermore, some of them are just looking for a place where they can escape without obligation or burden.
As a friend—a true friend—could I turn them away? Perhaps some people would say “yes,” but I’m not one of them.
Therefore let’s make this open invitation official: If I know and like you, then you are welcome wherever I happen to be staying. If you need a place to stay, an escape, a safe house, then I’m here. I don’t need to know you as an intimate friend. I just need to know you’re a good human whom I can trust. I don’t know you to that level? If someone I know and respect says you’re kind and good and trustworthy then you’re welcome here.
We all need a bolt hole, for whatever reasons. I want my people to know that they have one here.
Yes, it’s an inconvenience. Yes, it puts me out. Yes, it just doesn’t matter because people and safety are more important. Just be ready to be hugged and welcomed, no questions asked.