There is a mouse in my house. Several in fact. Well, at the very least two. I know this because we killed one last week and then I saw one this morning. Let me rephrase that- I SAW A FUCKING MOUSE IN MY KITCHEN THIS MORNING!
It was 5:20am. I was boiling an egg before going to the gym. I was about to walk over to the pantry to get out my “Fitness Crunch” cereal (No I didn’t buy it just b/c that’s what its called. I read the ingredients. 9 grams of protien in every bowl. Or serving, which may or may not be the amount I have in my bowl, but whatever.) Just as I’m turning toward the pantry I see this blur of grey. I don’t want to but I turn my head to look more fully at the grey blur and I see a little mouse come flying into the kitchen, run past the pantry door, literally skid to a stop, reverse direction, go back and go under the pantry door. OH MY FREAKING GOD JUST TYPING THAT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM.
At the time, I did not scream. Not really. I did this sort of muffled, screech thing because 1)I was too surprised/confused to fully scream – I was sort of hoping it wasn’t really happening and 2)I was actually aware of the fact that it was 5:20am and my roommate was sleeping.
The really disturbing, still confusing part of the whole thing is that there is this place in my brain that wants to identify the scene I just witnessed as cute. The screeching halt, little legs going in all direction, its little mouse claws clicking on the linoleum, that long thin tail swinging out in an arm as it scrambles to reverse course…
Yeah, thats that part of my brain rotted out by Disney movies. Disney built its empire on making mice cute. MICE ARE NOT CUTE. They are disgusting, garbage eating rodents that poop everywhere and that is not cute. Maybe if it was wearing a little hat and singing a song…NO. OHMYGOD. Mice in real life are not cute. They’re not. And intrinsically, organically I know this. But I also know, rationally, that they are not really dangerous either. I don’t really know why I’m so freaked out by it, but I AM. I think its a result of severe, Disney induced cognitive dissonance. Mice are not allowed in the house. Mice in the house must be killed. Like the one we killed last week. Its how it works. But there is a part of me that feels like that would be murdering this guy:
So every time I have a date I’m expecting this:
But get this:
But I digress.
So clearly there will be no Fitness crunch this morning. I opt for a slice of cheese and 1/4 of a power bar instead, all things that don’t involve me going into that pantry. I’m trying to convince myself that that wretched rodent is more scared of me than I am of him and he will stay in the pantry until I leave. I’m telling myself this so I don’t have to live in far corner of the kitchen forever. Just as I’m starting to believe it, HE COMES OUT. HE FUCKING COMES OUT. And this time my scream is a little less muffled, though is slightly controlled because I’m still so shocked. He comes out, realizes I’m still there so runs back out into the living room, from whence he came originally. Which makes me wonder where the fuck he’s living outside of the kitchen. I see him duck under the edge of my cooler that I take to outdoor events. The cooler is empty, washed out and free of anything that should be appealing to a mouse. I think he’s just using it for cover, but still, I wonder vaguely if I’ll ever be able to touch it again. Less than 2 minutes later, he tries to re-enter the kitchen, at which point I start full on, unmuffled screaming, as much in disgust and fright as plain outrage.
This mouse is clearly taunting me!
My roommate yells from her room “What’s going on?”
So I explain,”MOUSE! MOUSE! OH MY GOD! MOUSE!”
She comes out to the living room to stand looking in at me in the kitchen. “I thought something was killing the dog,” she says.
I shake my head, my panic growing instead of subsiding. Finally I manage “MOUSE! It ran in… IN TO the kitchen. IN! Then…under door. (pointing). Came back out. Under cooler!!” My roommate stares at me like I’m having a stroke. Finally she says “well it’s not here now. Get out here.” I shake my head. I can’t leave the kitchen. What if it jumps out from under my cooler and…and…I don’t know…tries to run up my leg with its tiny little clickity clackity claws?!?!? I could happen.
My roommate says “GET OUT HERE NOW.” And I know I’m already late for the gym, that I’ll have to leave the kitchen at some point (even as a voice in my head says “not necessarily, we could make this work”). So I take a deep breath, run through the door making a sharp jump turn to the right, away from the cooler and, thank you Jesus, toward the front door.
“I need my keys!” I say with horror as I realize the keys are hanging over the cooler. My roommate reaches over, grabs the keys and throws them at me. I grab my gym bag, which has been sitting on the floor a few feet from the cooler for the last 20 minutes. A little part of me thinks “what if a mouse got in that open pocket?” And I have one of those moments – you know the kind where you have to make a choice: let yourself slide into total insanity, or pull it together. I debate a nano second and then choose sanity. I pick up my bag and head for the door, offering a pathetic “sorry!” to my roommate for the whole screaming at 5:30 am thing. But I’m not really sorry. I mean I am sorry the whole thing occurred at an ungodly hour and all of that, but the truth is I couldn’t have left that kitchen if she hadn’t come out. Put that in the check list of reasons why its better not to live alone. Although I never had a mouse when I lived alone…but that’s beside the point.
During the 15 minute drive to the gym, I’m jittery and jumping at every little movement of light in the car. Convinced, in some deep part of my clearly not very functional brain, that there will be rodents or other pests in my car with me.
I’m 5 minutes late to meet my trainer, but he gives me credit for the creativeness of my excuse: “I was held hostage in my kitchen by a brazen arrogant mouse.”
7:00am I return home and my roommate asks “feel better? Did you work it out?” The truth is I don’t feel better. I feel the tension returning as I walk into the house. All I can think is that the mouse had been somewhere OTHER THAN THE KITCHEN all night. Where? Why? Not that I like the idea of a mouse in the kitchen, but at least that’s a contained area, an avoidable area, and a normal place to find a mouse in your house. It’s not supposed to be roaming around freely while we sleep. Now no place is safe from another confrontation. IT. COULD. BE. ANYWHERE.
As I’m walking through the living room toward my bedroom, I see something large and black on the patio outside the living room. “Ohmygod. There’s something on the patio!” I say. I’m starting to feel like I’m living in a twisted version of Cinderella – you know the part where she lovingly calls all the creatures in the forest to her and they help with her chores and make her party dress? Well I feel like I’ve got the opposite mojo – all the creatures of the suburbs are invading, taunting, and torturing me.
My roommate says “What? What do you mean?” I say “ohmygod there’s something on the patio!” We both walk toward the large sliding glass doors and right when we get there a big black cat sticks its face up against the glass and I scream and jump two feet back from the window. Overreaction I know, but ohmyfreakinggodtherewasamouseatbreakfast! I’m a little jangled.
My roommate says “all the creatures of the world are not coming after you.”
But aren’t they?
“That mouse was brazen. That mouse was taunting me!”
That mouse is here somewhere, outside the kitchen. Probably laughing at me. And with good reason. I get that.
I skip breakfast to avoid the kitchen, even though I know he doesn’t even hang out in there anymore. My roommate says “heading for a mouse free zone, huh?” and I nod while debating the logistics of living at work. Or in my car.