Okay, first of all, stop looking for other Airbnb rooms in San Francisco right now. Just stop, because nothing will beat Charles and Linda’s private room. I stayed in their home for six nights and it cost me a grand total of zero dollars. That’s right. This large, centrally located, beautiful space is free. F-r-e-e.
Now, there are some ground rules, but that’s to be expected. You will be required to wear a uniform. I know it sounds a little weird, but hey, a free room is a free room. The outfit consists of cargo shorts, an Angry Birds T-shirt, some Crocs, and a Webelos hat that has “Danny” written on it. They have various sizes for all of these items so you’ll be able to find one that fits you. It may not look chic, but it’s actually pretty comfortable for walking around in the city.
The room has A LOT of character. The bed is shaped like a racecar and is definitely on the smaller side, but it’s very comfortable. Also, if you’re a dinosaur fan (and c’mon, who isn’t?) you’ll be in heaven, because the walls are covered in them.
The house is pretty quiet most of the time, but be warned: You will periodically hear loud sobbing throughout the house, but it eventually fades away.
Linda and Charles are such a quirky older couple! I love them. They have one of those relationships that you hope to have when you get to that age. Charles can come off as a grump, but just know that deep down he’s a sweetheart. For example, he might ignore your presence and occasionally he’ll erupt at Linda, screaming things like “This isn’t normal!” and “We need to listen to Dr. Rollins’ advice!” Then he’ll storm out for hours at a time, but he’ll eventually come back and embrace her for hours on the staircase. It’s sweet.
They’re also very helpful about recommending good places to visit and eat nearby. Just know that you have to check in with her every 10 minutes. (Seriously, you have to check in every 10 minutes or she freaks.)
And there’s one golden rule: Under no circumstance are you allowed to skateboard down Lombard Street. So if you’re into the X-Games, this isn’t the house for you. But I sure in hell didn’t want to do that so it was a perfectly sane rule to me.
If I ever visit San Fran again, I’m definitely coming back here, because not only is it free (did I mention that?) but when you stay with Charles and Linda, they feel like family.
Spencer Ham is a comedian in Chicago, where he performs at iO and writes for the trivia game You Don’t Know Jack. His work has also been published in McSweeney’s.
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