My parents came to visit two months ago. I was a good lad. I showed them my apartment, did the walk around Central Park, took them to the inestimable P.J. Clarkes for burgers and Guinness. For a full weekend, I acted like a hyperactive cruise director, both because I genuinely wanted to provide a good time during their limited stay in New York, and because I was doing everything possible to avoid a particular conversation—this ONE thing that I really didn't want to discuss. It was broached several times, yes, but I'd swat the advances each time, like a Dikembe Mutombo directly beamed in from the 1997 Atlanta Hawks. In Times Square: "Hey, is that Al Pacino?" In front of the Empire State Building: "Hey, did you know a plane hit this in the '30s?" In Chelsea: "Hey, I tell you I think I might be gay?"
Finally, the weekend ended. They hugged me goodbye. My mom grabbed me by the shoulders. "We know your lease runs out this month. Where are you living in June?"
Broaching the Situation
I've now lived on a couch for almost a month. It fucking sucks. I'm not going to say I feel homeless or anything over-dramatic—both because that would trivialize the shittiness of actually being homeless, and because I do have Internet and said couch—but you really do feel unmoored. Even a bro used to living in the dumpiest of senior-year dumps begins to feel that closing-in feeling. That feeling that someone is always peeking over your shoulder. That you've invaded your buddy's palace, and that you'll ultimately get your Red Wedding for storming his King's Landing.
Anyway, when you're broaching the subject of an extended sofa crash with a friend, don't actually bring up this inevitable psychic toll. You will come across as bizarre and slightly insane, even though, if my current mental state says anything, this will be an inevitability after two weeks. Tell your friend your situation in as emphatic a manner as possible. Use the phrases "In this economy," "Rental situation is brutal," and "I'm just figuring things out." Pull up an online list of new apartments you're looking at. Grunt. Point at one place that looks reasonable. He'll understand.
Do not talk about paying. The onus is on him.
(NOTE: This is very lame, and you should actually try to work out some sort of payment.)
Bringing Shit In
You're allowed two trash bags, not including bedding. That's it. Bringing anything else—lamp, chair, collection of vintage pornography—gets more frowned upon than living in the corner of a living room. You'll stow these bags in your Special Corner, alongside what quickly becomes your dirty clothes pile, which will grow rapidly because you never figure out where the laundry room is located. At this point, you're really just trying to model your life off the dirty, bearded guy from Oliver & Company. And if you get that reference, well, sweet.
You will not be able to cook. Crashing a couch is one thing, crashing a kitchen, and getting rice stuck in the corner of the stove, is a whole different level of degeneration. Stock up on the microwavable dinners, and offer every now and then to grab take-out for the "house." Pitching in on beer will be a necessity, and, at soon, life will seem like an extended sleepover—you two will drink nearly every night. This is really unsustainable.
Through the magic of centralized cooling, air somehow doesn't reach the couch-level quite like it does a queen-sized bed. Your nights will consist of kicking off and putting back on sheets, and you'll look, to an impartial observer, like someone suffering from a 102-degree fever.
Invest in a sleeping bag (at least it'll commit you to sheets or not), and look into buying an air mattress. The human back is not meant for 30 days straight sleeping on a sofa. It's fun every now and then when you're drunk and just need a place to pass out, but that same logic applies to unprotected sex.
Spending Too Much Time on the Couch
You're going to want to really commit to being the Guy on the Couch (see above). You've got to stave off those feelings. You're a guest, and that five-season Breaking Bad binge should maybe wait till you have your own place. (Also: Would you swipe the remote from Dad when you were a kid? Well, obviously, because his taste in reality TV sucks, but don't do it here.)
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