i dropped maude off at my parents’ house tonight.  i’m not leaving for austin until tomorrow, but with everything i have to do to get ready in the morning, i didn’t want to worry about her, too.

when i go out of town, i always miss maude a little.  i’m usually busy when i’m gone, so i don’t think about her too much, and i almost never call my parents to ask about her more than once.  after all, i know she’s going to be okay, and they would call me if anything went wrong.  but i do miss her a little.

when i’m in my apartment without maude, i miss her a lot.  it’s so strange to be here by myself: to have dinner without her coming over to see what i’m eating, to watch tv without her next to me on the couch, to do laundry without having to take her out of her comfy spot in the basket of dirty clothes.  there are empty little chihuahua-shaped spaces all over the place.

i’ll be out of town for over a week this time.  when i come back, maude will be happy to see me.  she’ll run around the room in circles, wag her tail like mad, and jump up to lick my face.  i’ll be pretty happy to see her, too.

three unrelated items

1.  every time i leave my apartment, the dog tries to come with me.  when she thinks i’m getting ready to go, she races to the front door and stares at me, wagging her tail.  she knows the signs, too.  if i put on makeup, if i grab my jacket, if she hears my keys, if i touch my purse at all, she’s right there, waiting for me to open the door so we can go! go! go!  this is fine when i am bringing her with me, or if i’m just taking out the trash or checking the mail.  but when i need to leave her behind, it poses a problem.  to keep her from bolting into the hallway and prancing down the stairs, i have to hold my foot out towards her and talk to her as i ease out the door.

“i gotta go, maude, and you have to stay here.  stay here, puppy.  i’ll be back in a little while, okay?  you stay right here.  eat your food.  good girl.  good puppy.  i’ll be back later, okay?  okay?  bye.”

i had to do this yesterday when i went to run some errands.  i was talking my way out of the apartment and pulling the door shut when i noticed someone in the hallway.  it was one of the maintenance guys, the one who looks exactly like snoop dogg.  he’d overheard what i said to maude, and he was laughing.  at me.  i blushed.

“i was, uh, talking to the dog,” i said.  he didn’t say anything.

2.  i ran into my next-door neighbor last night.  a few months ago i gave her one of my business cards, and she said she’d look at my site.  last night we said hello as we passed each other in the hallway.

“hey, i checked out your jewelry site,” she said.

“oh, yeah?” i said.

“it’s pretty neat,” she said.  “i saw your other site, too.  bluishorange?   that was interesting.”

“yeah, i’ve been doing that one for about five years.  it’s fun.”

we talked some more about my writing and our respective jobs and dogs and stuff before she went inside.  only later did it occur to me to wonder if she saw any of the posts in which i talked about her.

3.  i hate the <p> tag.

because i live alone

some of the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, and some are not.  i always know which is which.

there are socks and underwear on the floor.  some are clean, and some are not, but again, i always know which is which.

i sing to the dog.  usually i take whatever song’s in my head at the time and modify it to include either her name or a dog theme.
“oh no, there goes tokyo, oh no, maudezilla!”
“i got a feeling, a puppy’s watching me…”
“got me a maudie, i want you to know!”

or sometimes i sing my own dog song, always to the same made-up tune.
“who’s the best dawwwwwwwg?  who’s the prettiest dawwwwwwg?”
“oh, that’s my mauuuuuuude!”
“food for the maude, water for the mauuuuude.”
she used to do the quizzical-dog head tilt whenever i would sing to her, but she’s desensitized now.

and sometimes i just sing whatever song’s in my head, without modification.  i try to sing it really well, but if it’s late at night or early in the morning or i’ve been sick, it comes out all scratchy and doesn’t sound very good.  this does not, however, stop me from singing it.

the floor is dirty, the microwave hasn’t been cleaned for ages, and i don’t even want to talk about the shower.

there are several bottles of nail polish on the coffee table, but not because i polish my nails a lot.  no, it’s because the bottles are the perfect sizes to wrap wire around to make jewelry.  this is also why the coffee table is littered with pens, pencils, plastic tic-tac boxes, and a seam-ripper.

and it’s why the carpet is covered with bits of wire.

i always have a glass of water nearby, with a straw in it.  sometimes i’ll use the same glass for a week before it occurs to me that i should wash it.

when i cut my fingernails, i don’t always make sure there’s a trash can underneath.

whenever someone comes over, i become acutely aware of the noises they make.  the sound of a person breathing, or clearing their throat, or shifting their weight on the couch always surprises me for a split-second before i realize, hey, it’s all right, there’s someone else in your apartment.  no big deal.

i forget there are other people.

when someone comes over, i’m also aware of things in my apartment that i hadn’t noticed before.  the scuff marks the cast on my leg has been making on the kitchen tile.  the indelible coffee stains on the counter.  the half-empty glasses of water everywhere.

i am not always wearing pants.  if i am not wearing pants, or if there’s bleach in my hair or some sort of skin-improving mask on my face, i’m deathly afraid someone’s going to knock on the door.  even if it’s the mail lady.

in every room there is a hairclip within reach – in the study, in the kitchen, on the coffee table, on the nightstand.

if i’ve seen this movie or that episode a bunch of times, i talk along with my favorite dialogue.

some nights the television’s on even if i’m not watching it.  even if i’m in the other room for hours, playing music on the computer and singing along with it in my scratchiest voice, the television’s still on.

i forget there are other people.