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A gallon of gas is now more expensive than a bottle of wine, at least according to some senior citizens I know. An entire string of unintended consequences has resulted from this sorry reality. Chief among these stark realities is the “staycation” and all of its implications.

The staycation is a 2008 made up word with more than faint negative implications like disambiguate. To the world in general, staycation means, “I am broke with an adjustable rate mortgage and worried about my job, not to mention the airlines are charging for checked luggage and coffee, so I think I will stay home instead of taking that European trip and feel good about it so I will tell my friends I am on a Staycation!”On a closer to home level, staycation means everyone wants to stay with us.

In the Bay Area we are accustomed to visitors. In general, we like to share this beautiful spot with others.The summer of ’08 and the concept of staycation may have altered all of that forever. The difference between a regular guest and a staycationer is in expectations. A staycationer believes and expects he or she can stay until the war in Iraq ends or until gas dips below $2.00/gallon. A guest brings good wine, helps drink it all at a long relaxing dinner, makes the bed and leaves before lunch the next day.


A staycationer invites their friends to stay at your house and doesn’t tell you before the strangers show up.A guest is thankful to receive an invitation. A staycationer believes that someone will show up to replace the laundry detergent, toilet paper, and dirty towels. (That someone would be me.) A guest never uses any of the above.

As we come to the end of Summer of ’08, a casual reader might infer that we had too many guests this season. Like trends in pop culture, business success and voting, we reached the “tipping point” when it came to guests. I was about to start pointing the tips of arrows at the prospect of any new guests. So for those who are considering a staycation, here are pieces of advice that will make the stay better for you and your host:


  • Never use the word staycation. In fact, the word “stay” should always be avoided. Uses phrases like “stop by” or “brunch”.
  • Bring no dogs or other pets. That spidoodle or labrapug may be cute on a walk with a leash down the street in Palo Alto but it is more like dog hair and poop to your host. Bringing the dog can look like a potential long stay.
  • Wear work clothes and bring gloves. You might be welcome longer if it appears that you are willing to clean the garage or move the firewood pile.
  • Read the audience. If the host doesn’t offer coffee in the morning or says the fires are approaching and we need to evacuate even though you smell no smoke; it’s time to restuff the backpack.
  • Yellow police tape that makes most of the house off-limits is always a warning sign that you have encroached. If you are not welcome to use the bathrooms leave as fast as you can.

These are just a few of the tips for visitors gleaned from the staycation summer. No doubt, anyone with that “spare” bedroom knows of what I speak. If I could determine who invented the word staycation, I would redirect some visitors to his house for a good long stay. I hope the summer word next year isHawaii.


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