Giving blood, public speeches, ultimatums - I have no qualms. But the sight of an indoor rodent will break me. I don’t mind them in meadows or dungeons, as these are places where they belong. They have no business roaming, unchaperoned, through buildings with mailing addresses.I was 22 when I first saw one. I spit my gum into an uncovered trash can in my law school building and a mouse (a stocky whippersnapper), that had just been hit, jumped up like it wanted to fight me. The next time, I sat in a study carrel (in the same building) and felt something crash into my shoe. I saw another one in the first NYC apartment I rented. My super and I have gone around my current apartment to seal any conceivable opening a mouse could squeeze through. I hadn’t thought about the toilet.
In the weeks after I saw that mouse in my former living quarters, I couldn’t think or talk about anything else (having to read a proposal for work entitled “The Long Tail” didn’t help). Locals laughed and rolled their eyes. “What is it about mice you hate so much?” one realty broker asked. Another said the mice wouldn’t hurt me.
I knew a Brooklynite who walked in on a mouse bobbing in her bowl of oatmeal. I know of an Upper West Sider who has woken up to find mice in bed with him. Others who have spotted one shrug their shoulders, set up traps, continue to whip up fragrant 3-course meals as if nothing had happened. They’re so blasé, it’s commendable. And I have no interest in emulating their composure.