Whenever I travel with a large group of people, I’m surprised by how afraid men are to share beds with each other. They will sleep on the floor, the couch, the countertop…as long as they don’t have to share a giant king size bed. But when I was working to sort us out last night, one would said, “I prefer not to share a bed,” and the others just sorted themselves onto their own safe islands.

R. moved into the basement apartment nine months after I moved into my mine. I first noticed her dog, which barked whenever she wasn’t there. Which wasn’t often—as far as I’ve been able to tell, someone is always in R.’s apartment. R. R. doesn’t look that old, but she behaves like she is. She is white with a small grizzly dog that, unlike her, is elderly.