Treating Housesitter as a Guest, July 05 | Treat Your Housesitter Like a Guest

Dear Meg,
Do you know that you have the same name as a famous rock star? You look a lotolder than her but I wonder if anybody ever gets you mixed up with her? Arethere any manners for that if it happens? She’s really cool and youseem like you know about some good music and even tattoos and stuff. I havea big crush on her ex-husband and band partner, Jack White, and I think Megand I could be good friends. What do you think about all this?
—Mira

My Dear Mira,
I do know about my White Stripes namesake. I’m even a fan. I’mafraid I must point out to you, however, that, as I am “a lot older” thanthe beat-keeping Meg, technically it is she who has the same name as me,not the other way around. Sorry if I sound a wee bit peckish on this issue.I do adore the former Mrs. Jack but I will admit to a silly, petty resentmenttoward her. She has made me virtually un-Google-able. It’s ridiculous,but I miss the days when I had a bit more virtual caché. Thank Goddessfor therapy.

As to whether there is any etiquette involved in the same-name-as-a-real-celebritytwilight zone, I’ve never come across anything official. I’vebeen asked this question a number of times. My strategy has been to wingit and have fun. I’ve teased a few people into believing I was rockstar Meg and some have just mistaken me for her because of the name.
Obviously, these unfortunate teasees and confused fellows and gallowswere in desperate need of corrective eye surgery or a subscription to RollingStone.

Thank you for thinking I seem cool for an old gal. Not all of us inthe over-40 crowd are as unhip as we seem. Email again I’ll behappy to get together, share a few stories, and maybe play some records.In the brazen arrogance of my own youth, I once told off Iggy Pop,who coincidentally appears in Meg and Jack’s film debut, Coffeeand Cigarettes. In case you were wondering, this was very bad behavior(i.e., manners) on my part and not something I am proud of. Lucky forme, he wasn’t exactly conscious at the time.

On the Jack question, I would issue great caution, especially sincehe recently got remarried. As a general rule, married men make badboyfriends and these famous glam-boys can be a kick for a while, butultimately you stand an above-average risk of being hurt or humiliated.I would hate to see that happen.

I wouldn’t doubt that you and Meg might make great pals, althoughshe appears to be rather busy these days. Dare to dream on this, just keepyour expectations in check, okay? It looks like the tour for the new record,Get Behind Me Satan, will be bringing them through Chicago August 29-31.It’s really not that difficult to meet these people if you set yourmind to it or have what I call star-karma. Just be careful. Sex, drugs, androck ’n’roll is pretty much exactly what it says it is and it’snothing to romanticize, I promise. Thanks for writing, sweetie.

Love, Meg

Dear Meg,
My husband and I are going to Europe soon and we are having a friendof my secretary’s housesit for us, take care of our cats, and do yardwork. I’m going to pay him, so I don’t think we should leaveany food or other living supplies. My husband disagrees. Who’s righthere? We’ve got a platter of sashimi riding on this.
—Mary Sue

My Dear Mary Sue,
Tell your husband to put his wallet away and his gloat cap on. Goodform dictates that you treat the person caring for your home and pets almostas well as you’d treat any other guest. Find out what this guy likesto eat and have plenty on hand. Leave appropriate reading material outfor him, cash for emergencies, etc. Also, leave clear and precise instructions,contact information for when the unavoidable mishaps occur, and identifyingPost-it notes on your remote control collection. You don’ t wantto return to your beloved abode only to discover your microwave is somehowdownloading audio blog bits and your LS48 VideoStage 5 is zapping a frozenburrito. It’s been known to happen. Have a good trip.
Love, Meg