Some of us probably camped, rented or borrowed a place to vacation this summer.

We recently stayed at a beautiful cottage and each time we visit, I always wonder about the previous renters’ hygiene, leisure and eating habits.

It doesn’t happen the second we walk in the door, that’s far too busy to be thinking of such things. We’re lugging alcohol food and trying to get beer into the fridge as fast as humanly possible. It’s already been in the car for almost two hours missing the comfortable home inside the crisper drawer. Never mind the milk, yogurt or ice cream sandwiches. The beer takes precedence over unbuckling the baby. The van rolls down the hill because Greg has forgotten to put it in park before bolting with two six-packs for wings leaving a man-sized hole through the phantom screen door.

The kids are fighting over who gets to be first to use the bathroom or start building the fort in the bunk-bed room.

That’s usually when it hits me. I need to wipe the t.v. remote with a Clorox wipe. It’s one of those things that stayed with me from a classic 1980’s Oprah episode where some t.v. remote expert pointed out the number of germs on a hotel convertor and it burned holes through the pixels in my retina. Now, anytime I know I’m going to be touching a convertor with a previous open power-button policy, I give it a good squeegee-ing and then scrape the top layer of skin from the palms of my hands while chanting, “It’ll grow back.”

How closely did the people who just walked out of here review and adhere to the “check-out” list?

From the surface, it has the appearance of clean but if I open the microwave and find the remnants of eight exploded hot-dog guts, I’m going home. If you can’t wipe up a foot-long, you can’t be trusted to have cleaned anything else properly.

When I make the beds, I hear the voice of a friend of ours who claims to sweat like crazy while sleeping for no apparent reason. It’s funny until you’re in a position where he might have been the last person to use your pillow.

These clean pillow cases from home might be sliding overtop of his sweat-stain except it wasn’t even our friend who was here before, what if it was “Sweats McGillicuddy” taking some downtime to get away from his fans before his next competition—Soak Your Pillow 2012?

Then I start to write the story of the previous people and it’s never a good one, even if they are lovely and for-the-most-part not serial killers. If I find one hair, one spider, one germy, Oprah t.v. remote, I judge them.

I find two large blocks of ice in the freezer and assume they must have been harvesting a human head. Why would anyone need two blocks of ice? The only logical reason to leave them behind is because the head fit directly into the space in the cooler labelled “head case.” What if they’re a traveling cryogenics team looking for a quiet, unassuming place to test their wares and maybe those weren’t hot dog innards in the microwave at all? Now I’m putting my beef tenderloin in the human head spot and my pillow feels increasingly damp.

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