A long time ago I used to think that having mice was morally bad. If you had a mouse you were derelict in some unspecified way. I thought that bad dirty people had mice.
Ha! So dumb, yes. And I deserve every bit of that very scorn. I have one now. He/she lives here. I don’t try killing it or anything. Only if I see it, I ask it to please run away, or I stomp in its direction. Oh holy crap — I only hope it’s the same one! For all I know each time it could be a different one, which would mean that I have several.
Back in 1988, I saw one for the first time in my apartment on 147th Street. I killed it on a glue trap. I woke up and it was squealing and maimed on that thing. At work I cried all day. I swore I’d never kill another mouse. A few weeks later when another one came, I fed it – no silly, I didn’t go up to it and put food in its mouth – I put the food on the floor for it.
I wrote a poem about a mouse back then. I had seen a mouse on the train tracks spinning around. My boyfriend said, “It’s been poisoned!” I was mad as hell and wrote this:
Damn the putrid human louse
For feeding the small and little brown mouse
Specious vittles on the ground
Causing its deranged and furry frame
To spin round and round and round,
Over and over and over again.
These aren’t the exact words because I’m only remembering loosely what I had written. I’d have to dig the original out from somewhere and it would be too exhausting – you’ll get the gist though. Also, please forgive the poetry — I was young.
After living where I am now for seven years, I saw one for the first time. They get on my nerves now. I’ll maybe see one every couple of years. But one day there were five. My boyfriend and I saw one, he killed it, and then another one came and he killed that one. Another one came and by this time I was hysterically yelling, “Get it, get it, get it!” We ran around the apartment behind them and my boyfriend swatted them with a broom. Shortly after I went jogging and came back. I asked my boyfriend if another had come. He said with his head downcast, “I wasn’t going to tell you. But, yeah, I killed two more while you were out.” I felt that they were taking advantage of me, so I cried – it was that time of the month. He said maybe one just had babies. At that point my love affair with mice — over!
While I sometimes get the urge to feed them, I don’t always look at them like they’re all cute and everything, because I know, given the opportunity they’ll try to take over. If we spoke the same language – if I could squeak to them or if they spoke English, it would be fine because I could communicate with them, but I don’t so they aren’t going to be welcomed here anymore.