Alternate Realities: Notes Left on a Kitchen Bench Addressed to a Couchsurfing Malcolm Gladwell

Words by Rosie Funder

Pictures by Kitty Allison

Published on December 15, 2014

Malcolm,

Hope you found the key easily enough. Make yourself at home. Dog is very friendly and the couch is set up for you (the Transformers quilt is my nephew’s, I swear!) I work until eight most days but will hopefully catch you soon.

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Tiptoed passed you this morning. Never thought I’d see Malcolm Gladwell asleep. And on my couch! Didn’t actually know there was any rum left in that bottle — glad you found it! I’ll be home around six. Must have a drink together soon.

Tracey

P.S. Did you look at my room? Could you tell what kind of person I am? Argh, don’t tell me!

**

Malcolm,

Keep missing each other, never mind (!). If you have any friends in town please feel free to have them around – ALL ARE WELCOME.

See you soon?

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Got it, no more capital letters. A bit too excited having you in the house, ha-ha! And no, sorry, I don’t know anywhere nearby that sells pink foam. See you in the flesh soon?

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Whoops, had to break through the barrier of egg-cartons. Dog got herself trapped in living room (ha-ha!). Hope she isn’t bothering you. Will try to rebuild fort (?) before you get back. I really like the bead curtains by the way, especially all of them layered like that!

Tracey

**

Malcolm, Meant to ask—any word on when you’re flying out? Just trying to get a ballpark date for when I can have other guests again.

Trace.

**

Malcolm,

Guess I can see how egg-carton fort was essential. Couch is quite exposed. Maybe don’t mention in review? Will be very grateful. I saw you wrote ‘Maverick Malcolm’ across bathroom mirror. Looks good, although very hard to rub off? No worry! Needed new mirror anyway.

Trace.

**

Malcolm,

Haven’t heard from you in a few days. Writing this note while sitting on couch. Is that you in my room? Noticed doorknob is gone. Can’t get in and no answer when I called out. I’m certainly not anti-fun — though haven’t smelled weed since uni! — was just keen to change before heading out again. Maybe you could leave my red shirt out when you feel comfortable? And if you’re not using it, I could maybe borrow the Transformers quilt?

T.

**

Malcolm,

No! Don’t mind sleeping on couch at all! So sorry if that’s how it came across.

Trace.

**

Malcolm,

The dog is back to her usual self this morning. Sorry she ate so many of your brownies. Did all your friends/guests still manage to get one? Annoyed I had to work and couldn’t party!

Trace

**

Malcolm,

I think I’m beginning to see how my doing your dishes is adversity I should embrace, so have cleaned up from last night.

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Was nice to see you! Not sure why you had to cover your head with a sheet and run out of house. Next time feel free to say hello. Would love to chat (did you see I’ve got all your books on my
shelf?)

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Haven’t seen you in a few days. Also, if having girls over (totally fine!) please let dog out of room before ‘hotboxing’. Also could I maybe wash sheets soon? You can just leave by the door.

Thanks!

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Hadn’t considered that we overvalue sheet washing as a society. I can be such a dummy — are you making a broader point? In which case, clue as to what point is?

T.

**

Malcolm,

Have slipped under your door what appears to be a letter from the Department of Immigration? Had a little panic when I saw the seal! Am happy to sign whatever!

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Writing this as I watch you roll joints across from me. Using pages from what looks to be The Tipping Point? Is that my copy? Such a great book — little things really can make a
big difference. Do you mind signing while you’re there? Snazzy headphones btw! What are you listening to (can’t quite pick the song from here)? Are those Beats by Dre? Love it!

Trace.

**

Malcolm,

Came home to find my straightener still on? Dog’s a new woman! She barely lets me clip her nails. Almost didn’t recognise you as well — your hair’s longer than mine like that! Please just remember to turn straightener off in future.

Also, I’m having friends over for dinner next week — do you mind if I grab a few of the chairs back for one night? I’d appreciate that.

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Ended up returning that City Cycle bike. You know they charge you for each extra day? How did you memorise my credit card number after one time? That mind!

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Had to sign for a delivery today. So many ‘fragile’ boxes. Should I be worried — ha ha?

Please keep me in the loop!

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Saw packing peanuts escape under your door. Assumed you’d need the dustpan and brush. Have left it out for you. Look after that room of mine!

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

Spoke to the Immigration Officer today while you were in your room. I said you were out, like we rehearsed. Do hosts get an extra star rating for breaking the law? Just joking.

Tracey

**

Malcolm,

A wedding invitation came for you today. Couldn’t help noticing the date’s not too far off. Let me know if you’ll need a place to stay, but I’ll have to check my availability.

Trace

**

Malcolm,

Thought it over and, sure! Why not stay until the wedding. Like I said, it’s not too far off. You seem to have a solution to every problem! Not too far off at all.

Trace.