We planned to go and spend the day on the beach, basking in the sun and breathing the fresh air you can only find near the ocean. We’d play all day and scramble to catch the ferry back home that night. My friend threw the plans my way, and I accepted the invitation in the name of youthful adventure.
When we arrived on Fire Island, my friend mentioned that his mother had a dear friend renting a house on the island for the month of July. After a few phone calls, we were sipping cold beers on the front porch of a 100-year-old wooden beach house. It didn’t bother me that our formless plans had taken this shape, and I felt very content watching the sea grass sway causally in the wind from the comfort of my spot on the porch.
We hadn’t meant to impose, and of course we did our fair share of offering to pitch in wherever we could. Our gestures were appreciated and accepted, but on the whole, we were more worried about inviting ourselves in than our hosts were about having us. This is an all-to-common scenario, and it goes to show that friends of friends are more willing to share than we realize. This sort of unselfish giving is circular, and good energy will find its way back to you if you treat your experience with care.
This is a relevant story for the summer time because the odds are good that you could find yourself in a similar situation. I encourage you to impose sparingly, though. Always be a very gracious guest; pick up after yourself, wash dishes after dinner, and buy a bottle of wine even if there’s already too much wine to go around. Pitch in excessively and always leave the place better than you found it.