People who do not have roommates:

Do you have an anti-serial killer safety net? How many days could you be missing before someone would notice? Or would your cat be snacking on your eyeballs when someone noticed the smell?

This is how I will start every conversation with a stranger, Mom.

My mother has woken up and gotten nervous about me traveling during the week for gigs, etc. (Spoiler: I have been doing this for years. My husband has aways had a pretty loose grasp on my whereabouts. It may be exacerbated by our current living arrangement.) I drive a lot less now than I used to, but will still probably drive more than your average human being. It is the musician’s way, which she would know if she’d ever bothered to learn what it meant to be a musician. But she hasn’t.

For years, I’ve called from the road. I find it’s easier to keep my eyes focused on the road if my brain has something occupying it. In recent years, podcasts have worked great, but back in the pre-smartphone days, I loved to call and catch up with people. Historically, if I call a parent, they can’t seem to get off the phone fast enough because they’re tired/busy/whatever. It’s kind of funny at the moment, but it has also lead to a lot of hurt feelings. Anxiety/depression feed on the perceived rejection. Mom has no idea where I am at any given point and has historically demonstrated that she could give a flying fuck when I’m actively trying to update her.

But now that I live ALONE she’s decided I need to CALL HER when I arrive. What this will look like in reality: I call at midnight, 1 a.m., 2 a.m. from some obscure location, she’s crabby because it’s late and will ask me why in god’s name I need to be out so late. Does it even pay? Is it even worth it? And I will spend days/weeks tail-spinning about whether I’m wasting my life because I can’t shake off her nonsense when I’m tired.

Alternately, she’ll start texting me when she thinks I should have arrive. Her calculations are always about forty-five minutes off, so I start getting imperious, insistent texts before I am at my location. Which I can’t check, because I’m still driving. (Have you guys ever stopped at a rural midwest rest stop after midnight? I do not recommend.)

So now it’s Saturday night, and no one has seen my face since I left work at 5:30 p.m. last Friday. If I didn’t have rehearsal tomorrow, my husband’s occasional texts would be the only link between me and reality until Monday at 9 a.m. (This isn’t normal, but it happens when he has a busy weekend and I can’t travel.) Anxiety/depression are old friends, and they love to sneak in at times like this, but I’m staving them off by keeping busy with work, trying to convince myself I like cooking (I like ... eating healthy?), and doing active things with the dog.

So I’ve had one conversation with another human being today, and it was used to demand a level of contact I’m not comfortable with from a person I have a shaky history with. I think I know which one of us is being a little nuts, but I’m by myself with dogbeasts and could use some verification from the outside world ...

... do you have an anti-serial killer safety net?