1) You think of your cat as your best friend and confidante.
2) You actually begin to care that there’s a mess in the kitchen that needs to be addressed immediately. When did that ever happen before? Never, that’s when.
3) You notice you’re wearing the same outfit you wore yesterday. So what? At least you’re not still in your pajamas, like some other slobby writers you know.
4) You get a little too excited when the phone rings, even if it’s a wrong number or a solicitation call.
5) Speaking of getting a little too excited — have you noticed you’re like a wild animal let out of a cage when you’re at a cocktail party? Can you, the avowed introvert, possibly be talking way too much? And how attractive is your air of desperation, anyway?
6) You know those phone solicitors? You have no idea why people trash them all the time. After you’ve talked to them for an hour or so, you realize they’re very nice and sadly misunderstood people. They are also hawking some rather valuable products.
7) Even your cat looks a little bored by you these days. Remind self to buy more expensive catfood to woo him back.
8) Why does the postman deliver your mail and run away quickly? Could he be avoiding you, too, after your lengthy conversation with him about bringing you better mail the next time?
9) The cat suggests he needs a little more time to himself and is a little tired of you and all your problems with writer’s block. You consider taking him to the animal shelter and trading him in for a needier, more codependent pet who will appreciate your neuroses more.
10) It’s spring. Therefore, you decide your house needs a spring-cleaning, even though you and your house have lived through many, many springs together — and this has never been an issue before. The cat objects, though, so you call the whole thing off. You can always get another house, but a best friend is forever.
(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)