I’m not fully committed to being a people person: I don’t like hugs from non-spousal adults whether friend or stranger or especially business acquaintance, I think friendly people are probably planning to rob me or do me harm, and I go a little crazy in cramped quarters, more so if they are inhabited by more than just me.
So after another charming visit to Nova Scotia where all the good kind people go out of their way to show you the best they have to offer, my twisted little mind pushed back.
I started to wonder: if the pineapple is the symbol of welcome, what is the symbol of “unwelcome”? What could one put in a guest room to keep guests from overstaying their welcome. Ages ago on a tour of a Newport RI mansion, I was told by the docent that in the old days, when subtlety was an art, a homeowner would remove the pineapple finial from the four poster bed as an indication that it was time to find a new place to stay. Or someone might short sheet the bed linens. But we are no longer a society of nuance, so something more overt is necessary. Nothing as clichéd as the Von Trapp family staple of rubber snakes and frogs. How then could a hostess decorate to say “inhospitable” while moderately hiding her intent?
My stepdaughters, Nissi and Grace, pointed me in the right, or is it wrong, direction. Spiders worked. They’d run shrieking from the most inauspicious little eight-legger. But they’re big chickens, evidenced by the fact they couldn’t sleep in a charming cottage we rented without pushing the antique baby buggy and staring doll from their shared bedroom. But antique dolls and bugs aside….could I find anything that might work.
I did find things….strange things….that seemed harmless enough in daylight but that might make the bumps in the night a bit more suspect.
Here are 7 Ideas for Guest Removal that beg the question: “How long could you stay in a room guarded by these mysteries?”
1. CLOWNS…is anything creepier than a clown? Their fake smiles, hiding all sorts of trauma and malcontent. In fact when I feared one of my nieces was mistreated by a friend, I threatened to regularly leave clowns in the offender’s mailbox on random days. No message just another freaky/freakin’ clown with the offender’s name on it. Wisely she advised me that the slight didn’t warrant such a harsh reaction.
2. SYRINGES AND AMMO CASINGS – not out in the open but close to trash barrels as if to signify a mistaken toss away. I do have syringes but only because I syringe fed my sick rabbit. And FYI they don’t hold needles.
3. A SCRAPBOOK WITH NEWSPAPER ARTICLES OF UNSOLVED CRIMES especially when paired with a box of surgical rubber gloves in the same bedside table drawer, next to the Gideon Bible with a scratched note – “STOP ME, PLEASE”.
4. A BADLY SEALED WALL INDICATING A HASTILY HIDDEN ROOM…nothing spells “danger” like a boarded over door. Were the homeowners trying to keep something in….or out?
5. HUMAN OR OTHER BONES AS DECORATIONS. This may seem over the top, but real bones are surprisingly easy to come by. These red white and blue painted porpoise vertebra were being sold in an antique shop as objets d’art. If you are wondering, they are surprisingly light and therefore useless as bookends.
And these bones came from a collection of antique medical stuff in a doctor’s estate sale. You could also check with your butcher.
6. A SET OF BRONZE-TONE SCULPTURED LAMPS DEPICTING A NAKED WOMAN BEING KISSED BY A HALF MAN HALF TREE. Admittedly your chance of finding these gems is slim unless you know where I saw them (and then only if I didn’t already purchase them). But this set is such a curio – why was the man half wood/tree; there is no classical mythological story where that happens. A woman turned into or out of a laurel tree in one myth, but no guys that I or my crack team of researchers have unearthed. Note: Top half of man is human though a bit “barky”, bottom half is tree trunk.
7. A LEECH CANISTER FROM A PERIOD IN MEDICAL HISTORY WHEN BLOOD LETTING WAS THE BEST MEDICAL ADVICE. Ideal, too, for hiding cookies you want to keep just for yourself. BTW this was sold at an estate auction for $1900, and we lost out with our $50 max bid for this item.
Beach dwellers, nature cabin couples, ski lodge owners, introverts: now it’s YOUR TURN……
SWEET DREAMS ALL!
(c) 2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell
NOTE: With the exception of the newspaper clipping all items were found by me and many might still be available today.
PS We have family including two grandkids visiting in October and none of these items will be in evidence. The only scary thing they’ll see is the Jumbotron rabbit named Bongo.