I have a spare bedroom at the back of my house. I thought, Why not rent it out short-term? I could meet some interesting travellers. There’s a web site that allows people to do that, so I signed up and listed the room.
It’s a spare double bed in my house, with shared bathroom, communal kitchen, laundry and a lounge room. It’s not a big house, but it has all that people need.
A few weeks later a guy contacted me to book the room. He contacted on behalf of someone else. I said, no problem. My guest was to stay for three weeks.
I vacuumed and washed. I mowed the lawns and trimmed the hedges. I uncovered my old bar fridge and plugged it for my guest to have their own space. I placed a chocolate on the pillow, two clean towels on the bed, and waited for their arrival.
A week later a young student arrived. She not older than twenty-two. She tugged a suitcase behind her as I showed her the house and its amenities. This tour did not take long. I gave her a key, my phone number, and showed her the way to the shops should she need any food.
I asked if she had any questions.
She said, “No.”
Much of that night she spent in her room. The next day, while at work, I received a message saying she was moving out.
How odd, thought I. The key was left under the mat, the chocolate gone, the towel back on the rack. That was the end of that, until the review came.
According to the man who booked the room, I had refused access to the bathroom and drilled a peep hole into the bathroom, so in theory I could watch people undress in a room I refused access into. He said the house was not suitable to stay at, and the guest had to leave.
I was not happy.
Mum said I should have embraced the review. “There wouldn’t be many like that in the area, she said.” Instead of deleting my account, she thought I should have targeted the pervert market.
“How often do you see them out and about?” she said. “It would have been nice for them to have somewhere to go.”
I told her I didn’t want to promote a sex dungeon.
“Not a dungeon, Dear,” she said. “Just a room to look into. You don’t have to provide anything special. You could sit on a stool naked in front of a curtain. They don’t ask for much.”
Mum seemed to know an alarming amount about the peep show process.
“It’s not an agency,” she said. “So you don’t need to register for tax or anything.”
I still said, No.
The interesting thing is that since my unmarried house guest and I spent the night under the same roof, in some cultures we’re now married. So that’s nice. I don’t remember her name and have deleted her phone number, so we’re estranged, but we’ll always have that one night.