I had assured Todd everything would be ok. It was his first time using AirBnB to rent out a room in someone’s home and he was skeptical. “Regardless, it will be an adventure”, I said. Indeed it was.
Leaving town late on the eve of a long weekend inevitably means traffic and prolonged arrival times to your final destination. When we arrived late on Friday night, the neighborhood surrounding the pin on google maps seemed “rougher” than expected. The photos I had seen of Providence on Instagram didn’t show bars on windows and pitbulls chained to fences without owners in sight. No amount of filters could lighten this dark decimated part of town. We parked the car and knocked on the door.
The gentleman who greeted us was very friendly and I was temporarily relieved. Yet normalcy faded as we were introduced to his couch surfing friend who seemed to have dosed himself past the point of return during too many Grateful Dead shows. I crept immediately into the bedroom while Todd found himself trapped in conversation about residential solar and marriage licenses. Typically quite the conversationalist, he was losing badly to the man who didn’t believe in “any type of law – period.” I listened as Todd made unsuccessful attempts to free himself and at one point even heard him say, “O cool – that sounds awesome” in response to, “I have been doing a lot of dumpster diving lately.”
Already feeling swindled by the home’s prior tenants and reviewers, I thought there must be some mistake. 37 other people provided an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Blasphemy! Truthfully, I should have read more of the comments, aptly describing the place “a good value” over luxury.
Inside we found dozens of empty or opened beer bottles and a variety of different pipes for uses I could only imagine. There was a film of grease on every appliance's surface and dirty dishes sat moldy in the sink, begging to be washed. A layer of dust thick on every surface, including the floor, putting dirt on my shoes as opposed to the opposite.
To be clear, I’ve spent more time than I should admit in a fraternity house. And until that moment, I didn’t think anything could be “stickier” or more disgusting than the carpeted halls of Beta Theta Pi – but sadly I was wrong. We had found a place and I had the luxury of sleeping there.
If I was to be temporarily transported back to college, why couldn’t it be the football games and keg stands that drove me to reminisce. Not the dirty bathrooms and smell of stale pot smoke I had forgotten all about.
I opened my eyes as soon as the sun came up so we could hurry up and get the hell out of dodge. Declining to shower for fear I would leave with more than I came with – hepatitis c or likewise – we left the keys on the table and drove to the local coffee shop. At 7:15AM on a Saturday morning, we sat waiting for the town to open up, laughing about the events of last night.
It didn’t take long to find Westminster St, adorably lined with boutiques and cafes. We took our time and made our way up college hill, wandering the charming shaded streets surrounding Brown University, looking at all the homes we wished had been our AirBnB for the night.