Welcome! We’re delighted you chose this home in northeast Baltimore for your pandemic staycation. We are steps from a quaint cluster of cell phone stores and a recently shuttered bakery, only minutes from a methadone clinic. It may not be a pied-à-terre in Paris, a villa on the Amalfi Coast, or—as you recently put it—“for fuck’s sake, anywhere else in the known world.” But we’re confident you’ll come away from your vacation changed, possibly a different person altogether.
DRESS THE PART
Pajamas are de rigueur here, though you may choose to accessorize with a bra. To fit in with the natives, toss the razor, stock up on leggings, and stick something long and pointy through your bun. (A barbecue skewer doubles as a fabulous wall stabber.) After a week or two, your hair will stay up on its own, courtesy of your own natural sebum. Is that slack-jawed feeling catatonia or relaxation? Does it matter?
When you’re ready to take in the sights, start with that inexhaustible treasure trove, the mailbox. If you’re lucky you might find, say, the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, full of solutions to problems you didn’t know existed. Kick back and imagine you too are an aging hedge fund manager, monitoring the temperature of the London broil from the comfort of your hot tub, which is also a boat. A hot tub boat.
Or perhaps you’re feeling frisky enough to step off the porch. Scan your surroundings for virus vectors, aka other people, and when the coast is clear, venture into the front yard for a bucolic stroll. Pluck your own wild chives and dandelion greens if you choose. The management doesn’t get to the grocery store much these days, so this is it for fresh produce. Just steer clear of the plants along the sidewalk. Woof!
Move over charcuterie chalet, there’s a new kid in town. Our shingles are shale and our crackers are stale, but we too are masters of the unexpected. Head to the kitchen for a cold bun-less hot dog paired with the rounds of cucumber our children left on their plates yesterday. Don’t mind if I do! And if the box wine on the counter is already warbling its sour siren song, go ahead and indulge. Remember: What happens in your staycation home, stays in your staycation home (barring that which is captured on Zoom).
THREE MIND-BLOWING ADVENTURES TO HAVE IN THE LIVING ROOM
Here at 4412 Carter Avenue, we have a saying: “Not all who wander are motivated to get off the coach.” So set sail aboard the good ship EKTORP, avoiding please the broken arm. As the day wanes, embark on our most popular excursion, a voyage to the shores of intentional stupefaction. To weigh anchor, simply avail yourself of the extensive, if random, liquor cabinet and the enticing selection of purely medicinal edibles. Now you’re ready to make the most of the long months of winter and spring and summer and fall.
To amp up the fun, try our curated YouTube line-up. Our menu of 1970s talk shows will transport you to the carefree days of the oil embargo. For a more immersive experience, don your sweater vest, spark up a Winston, and make casual remarks about the breasts nearest you.
Finally, as night falls and the police helicopters outside strike up their nightly chorus, join our most intrepid visitors on a journey into the dark, depthless present. Stow your oars, stare into space, and let the waters of time lap over the bow.
THE HOT TUB AT THE END OF THE WORLD
At day’s end, curl up and sink into a warm bath that relaxes your tense nether regions while leaving your knees dry for the ultimate in drink-resting convenience. If you too have begun losing giant clumps of hair during this challenging time, feel free to sample from the vast array of experimental potions, poultices, and pills strewn about the restroom. And please consider contributing your own clumps to the friendly furry Bathroom Bear we are building in the corner. Because when life gives us chronic stress-related hair loss, we make hair bears!
GET AWAY FROM SOME OF IT
At the top of the home nestles our patented Shiver Sauna. This chilly sanctuary, located where one would typically find an attic crawlspace, is perfect for a relaxing post-bath escape. Stretch out on the carpet salvaged from the bulk trash pile, breathe in the brisk uninsulated air, and let your worries float away through the chinks in the rafters. Naked lightbulbs and scant headroom provide the ambiance, but the joy you feel is one of discovery. This space is that wondrous rarity, untrammeled ground. It is a new place, and it’s all yours! If you hear children screaming downstairs, it will be muffled and far away enough to seem like someone else’s problem. You’ve arrived. Let your sense of possibility soar.
We hope you enjoy your stay at 4412 Carter Avenue and learn a little something about yourself along the way. Remember: Anywhere can be your happy place when you have not yet succumbed to a deadly infectious disease that half the country doesn’t believe in. Bon voyage!