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Strangers on My Sofa

01 Jan

Today, according to the almighty google, is the 25th anniversary of the TCP/IP protocol. Like, hello, does anybody care? I think we all have better things to concern ourselves with at this juncture. Anniversaries for protocols I can do without.

couch.jpg

Anyway, yesterday was the new year, in case you didn’t notice, and as always there were reports of idiot teenagers getting their fingers blown off due to handling explosives while drunk and frisky. I watched these gory events personally from a very nice party hosted by Erik and Malin (thanks guys!) and even managed to injure somebody myself by shooting a champagne cork into their face. Sorry ‘bout that.

In my company was Jessie, a couch surfer from Texas whom I had met for the first time exactly 90 minutes earlier. Couch surfing, as you may know, is the quite stupid and irritating name given to the practise of putting up complete strangers for a night or two, in exchange for light housework or sexual favours. No, just joking–the sexual favours are completely voluntary (although irresistible).

There are a few Internet sites where you “advertise” yourself as able to accept guests, and you are then free to mail anybody, anywhere and ask to stay with them. And by being nice and courteous, it is possible to travel anywhere in the world and get a native to put you up, free of charge, and quite often show you around.

sleep.gifI love the whole concept on so many levels. You get to meet people you never would have met otherwise. You get to visit them in return. You get to act a tourist in your own city, and possibly get invited to theirs. You get to relate all your best anecdotes to a person who had never heard them before. And you get to feel so smug and pleased with yourself by giving unconditional kindness to a stranger.

Really, that is the best thing about it – being charming and kind to somebody you don’t know is just great. Altruism is such a fucking rush, man!

Also this whole free accommodation thing encourages people to trust each other. It also bypasses the hotels, which can only be a good thing. Stupid hotels.

So thanks to Jessi for being a gracious host and giving me my altruism rush. And no, before you ask, it’s not “dangerous” to put people up in this way – I doubt that crazy people will go to so much effort to find somebody to mutilate and kill. And anyway they have their own websites for that kind of thing.

My sofa awaits you, my dears…

/ paddy

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2008 in Life, Society

 

9 responses to “Strangers on My Sofa

  1. earthpal

    January 2, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Sounds good to me Paddy. I’ll join the queue. Hope you’ve got plenty of cushions.

    Happy New Year!

    xx

     
  2. Alex Foster

    January 2, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Wow. What an excellent idea!

     
  3. Blackout

    January 4, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Cough surfing, hmm, häftigt men ändå lite risky. Men visst, det låter onekligen som ett ypperligt sätt at skaffa sig nya vänner på. Jag förmodat att man bara googlar begreppet så öppnar sig ett hav av möjligheter.

     
  4. paddyK

    January 4, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Blackout: Risky? So is crossing the street in the morning, or sticking your face in a fan. But no, it’s not risky. People are usually nice. Until they stab you.

     
  5. Blackout

    January 4, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Jag är misantrop men förmodar att du har rätt, det gäller att öppna sinnet och se med kärlek på sina medmänniskor, att liksom inta en buddistisk hållning till omvärlden, känna tillit och förtroende och förlita sig på att alla andra tänker likadant.

     
  6. James

    January 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Will somebody please ask Claudia Schiffer to sign up to this scheme.

     
  7. paddyK

    January 6, 2008 at 12:22 am

    James: I’m on it. And Christina Ricci.

     
  8. Glen Gordon

    January 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Wow, what an excellent way to kill and mutilate people! Hahaha.

     

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