Monday, March 24, 2014

A Few Words on Mickey, Minnie, Stuart Little, Chuck E. Cheese, and Their Freeloading Relatives

As of two nights ago, I keep my toilet lid down whenever the best seat in the house is not in use. All because of a sentence I read about a New Yorker who saw a rat swim up and crawl out of his.

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.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a little girl growing up in Indianapolis, I saw my mother jump on a chair and scream because a mouse ran through the kitchen. My brother, who was probably about twelve at the time, chased it with a broom. I doubt that he was able to kill it, although I know he was trying mightily to do so. At age nine, I was standing to the side and laughing my head off at this comedy.

    Since then I have seen a lot of mice, both in and out of various houses and apartments, including mine. I have killed a lot of mice with various traps. A year ago my daughter, who seems to have even more experience with this than I do, introduced me to a new-fangled trap that is supposed to electrocute the mouse. I try not to think what a murderer I have become. Yes, Roving Retorter, I'm pretty blase about these things, at this point in my life. My daughter, who told me she could never become a doctor because she couldn't stand the sight of blood, has become positively blood thirsty when it comes to mice. And it's not just in New York. She has dealt with mice in Chicago, Paris, Morocco, and New York.

    I have one friend who deserves a special place in heaven as a non-murderer of mice. She captures them with a little piece of cheese left in a small, portable cage. Then she carries the cage a few blocks away and releases them. We joke that it is probably the same returning mouse that is caught, released, and caught again, over and over.

    Fortunately, I have never had to deal with a rat. THAT would inspire terror in me, for sure.