The Airbnb From Hell

It wasn’t the quality of the Airbnb apartment that got under the renter’s skin; it was the overbearing host and her endless complaints. This post originally appeared in the New York Times Metropolitan Diary.

Dear Diary:

Everybody knows “home” is universal: a place of comfort and security, no matter where or how you find it. So when a woman placed her apartment keys in my hand, looked me in the eye and said, “This is your home now,” I thought we were on the same page.

And she seemed nice, this Airbnb host of mine. I’d moved to New York from Atlanta for a job, and was living with her for a month in Brooklyn until I found permanent housing. We bonded over current events and a mutual interest in Southern culture.

Funny, though. She didn’t seem to trust her four guests. Every kitchen cabinet was zip-tied shut save one, which contained a small saucepan and two sets of plateware and silverware. Her fridge was cable-locked shut, and her bedroom was so secure that I once watched her spend 30 seconds unlocking the door.

My first morning there, I was chided for carrying my shoes into the dining room. They either belonged in my bedroom or outside the house.

My second morning, it was for not wiping condensation off the table from ice cream the night before.

My third morning, it was for not scrubbing the inside of the sink with soap after cooking.

This continued for quite some time.

I just moved into my new apartment, which is still unfurnished. In a way, that’s almost better. I can already envision what it’s going to look like, and in doing so, it already feels comfortable. Secure.

I value that feeling more now than ever before.

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