How long has this been going on?

Isis and I are alone for the next 24 hours plus. Rob is doing some mixed martial arts something-or-other in San Jose.

I’m not scared. Just this second my ferocious guard dog leaped into action, barking her shrill head off, setting off the ultrasonic anti-bark device I installed by the library window for this very purpose, because someone somewhere on our block shut a car door.

Good doggie.

I’m in my “office,” also known as my mother’s bedroom, when, over the sound of Roomba in the other room, mowing Isis’ fur from every square inch of the house, I hear voices. The kind of faint voices you hear when you live in an apartment, and you hear a conversation through the wall. Except I share walls with no one. Could it be a conversation on the street? Did I leave the TV on?

Or possibly, has the ancient clock radio in this room, which didn’t seem to work as a wake-up system when I tested it last summer, turned itself on at a very low volume, making me wonder whether it’s actually been turning on every night at 10 p.m., and spooking me just a little?

(I’ll end the suspense. It was that last one.)