Listen to the dramatic reading by Steven Markow!

The world is nightmarish and chaotic, the daily news a seemingly unending dirge of human rights violations, which is why my partner and I have done our best to remove every reminder of the outside world from our Airbnb and that is reflected in the relatively high pre-cleaning fee.

We absolutely got rid of the newspapers we used to leave out because they had an old-fashioned charm. We thought about leaving out some vintage ones but it turns out the news has never been good ever. The closest headlines have ever gotten to a positive story is “WAR IS OVER” and I think it’s obvious how depressing that is.

We thought about only putting out children’s picture books before we remembered that’s pretty much how our president gets his daily briefings. Also, can you even hear the word “children” without thinking about… Ah, see?!

My partner had the idea to write our own newspaper, but then we’d only be putting more fake news into the world. And even if our stories would be things like, “Cats Exist” and “Beautiful Weather Happens Occasionally,” we figured it wouldn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to spin those as “But I’m Deathly Allergic” and “HURRICANES ALL THE TIME,” so we removed anything that could be deemed “informational,” leaving only a handful of the gentlest abstract paintings, hand designed by a professional color therapist, which we pray will not make you feel intellectually inferior.

While our aesthetic up until about mid-2016 was “cozy cabin,” our current aesthetic is more like “amicably abandoned sanitarium.” You know, it’s not like some trauma drove the staff and patients away, but like they just ran out off funding or something and had to relocate. So it’s minimalist, but not in a chic way, because we thought that might make you think of class inequality. I know it’s a stretch but we’ve all walked into a fancy cafe with like two chairs and a barista wearing a gray cloth sack and felt like we didn’t belong. So let’s just leave it at the totally objective, “There isn’t a ton of stuff in here” look.

The mattress is really comfy though! But I will say it’s not one of those mattresses you hear advertised on podcasts all the time, because how many podcasts are about the news? Pretty much all of them now! You’ll be listening to a podcast called “What is Sand?” and two minutes in they're talking about Bengazi! Is there no escape?!

There is. This Airbnb, because my partner and I have combed through every nook and cranny of our psyche to remove even the slightest glimpse of the swirling vortex of anxiety that is the world around it.

Lastly, we used to give people lots of to-do recommendations for shops and restaurants in the area, now we just give one: smash your phone with a rock (provided, wrapped in a cute little cloth on the table beside this note), and just breathe. And if you find you can’t meditate, and every moment of silence only opens the floodgates of anger and terror that plague you every waking moment these days, you may use the rock to knock yourself unconscious. We recommend doing it on that comfy mattress with the tags ripped hastily off it.

Sorry for all the blood on that mattress, by the way. It’s the one kind of bummer thing that we couldn’t remove from our otherwise perfect getaway!