So, the other day, I saw a MOUSE in my house. My house is not a house, really. It’s a little box in the sky. Not far up in the sky, either. Second floor, 436 sq. ft. studio suite. packed FULL of books, papers, batteries, pens, bookmarks, stickers, boxes. an ironing board (I love ironing), receipts from plays I went to in 2004, papers I wrote for classes I took in 2003, taxes from, oh, the nineties, I think there’s a bus transfer from 1988 in here somewhere, jars of pickles, wrappers from protein bars, earplugs, soap, pictures of Prairie Sky and suffragettes, a ceramic draft horse that used to stand in my Grandma’s china cabinet…
you get the picture?
I’m kind of a borderline hoarder. if I don’t get a handle on it, in 20 years, i’m gonna be one of those crazy ladies you hear about who live in tiny dark places stacked with boxes and piles of crap, and there’ll be a path between the bed, the coffee-maker and the bathroom. I’ve been watching some episodes of “Hoarders” on the internet, here. It’s chilling. I say the SAME things some of those people say–“oh, gee, i can’t get rid of that, i wrote that when i first moved to BC in 1987, I remember that pen…” or “I don’t remember her name, but she gave me that card for my birthday in 1983, lookit, it’s archival!” and that t-shirt you can spit through? i can use it, still–i’ll make a good nightshirt…
At least i have some insight…
anyhow, so there it was, a wee grey house mouse skittering across the floor between a pile of papers and my bed. Squitched me right out. I turn all girly when faced with live rodents, I tell ya. The GOOD news, of course, is that there was an open patch of floor across which the mouse was able to navigate. so, you know, it’s not so bad.
Anyhow. so i did a bunch of research, and I went out and got the apparently least effective, most expensive, but non-lethal method of rodent riddance–one of those electronic noise things. It’s supposed to emit a sound at a frequency that mice can hear, and that freaks them out and scares ’em away. I read a bunch of reviews and product descriptions of all kinds of things, and remembered when we had mice at the women’s centre, and the pest control people put down those glue traps, and those were horrifying. ohmygod hearing the mice squeaking behind the pantry shelves when they were trapped on those things was awful. awful. wouldn’t consider using those, not at all. There are those snap traps that crush their wee skulls; or there’s warfarin, which thins their blood, so they end up dragging themselves home so they can bleed to death in front of their little mouse families; or there’s an electric zapper that electrocutes them, and then you can just shake them out of the box into the garbage bin; or there are live traps that you can use to catch them and release them into the wild–the park across the street or the back alley a few blocks away. But there are problems with that, too–they are house mice, they don’t tend to do well in the great outdoors. I read that somewhere. They’ll die of exposure or predators or, here in the rainforest–drowning. I am not tough in that regard, I don’t want to be responsible for another creatures’ death.
I will eat them once they’ve been killed and butchered, but i don’t want to have looked them in the eye before they’re dinner, you know? (I am speaking here of critters in general, not mice. I don’t think i want to eat mice. No.) city girl, me. there goes my reputation as being a big ol’ country dyke. I was never all that convincing about that anyhow.
So i plug this electronic thing that screams at the mice, and know what? I can HEAR it! does that make me a rodent? damn. I suspected that i was transpecied, but I thought, you know, dolphin. Or maybe Golden Retriever or Lab or some fun, loyal, lovable creature like that. Not, you know, VERMIN.
they’re smart, though, mice. Apparently. Way smarter than most creatures their size. Smarter, proportionately, than humans. I don’t think as smart as dolphins, though. Nor as playful and loyal as dogs. If I’m gonna be transspecied, I oughta be able to pick which one to be, don’t you think? I have criteria other than “no opposable thumbs”. Smart’s good, but I’d like to be a bigger species than a rodent, ya know?
anyhow. My friend came over yesterday to help me organize. Mostly she didn’t want to because her brother’s been really sick and she’s been worried and living on fast food while visiting him in the hospital and trying to keep her dad and her brother’s partner and herself all in some kind of together as they worried and tried to plan for his care and all that. He’s gonna be okay, now, they think, but that was all very dramatic and took away some of her enthusiasm for managing my mess. But that’s okay. she dug around in other places instead. “Why do you punish yourself?” she asked me.
I’m having a really hard time here in my skin these days, i have to tell you. my house is a mess, my life is enviable, i think. In some ways. busy and kind of lonesome and not bad at all; I work out a lot, and i’m getting some paid work, and have had a thing published in a couple of places, that’s cool. And even if I’m kinda lonely, i love my solitude. At the same time, I feel like i’m skating around the periphery, just skimming the surfaces of things, not diving deep. And I do punish myself, it’s true. It’s at once self-indulgent and self-trashing to do this weird wrestle with the demons, isn’t it? I think of all the things i have to do, there’s a storytelling thing in a couple of weeks, and another workshop to prepare for soon, and a paper to write and an action to plan, and our playwright friend is coming to town and there’s the triathlon coming up and the trip with my mom and … my apartment is disorganized and messy and i can’t really cope. it looks like i’m coping, and I am, but wow it feels tenuous sometimes, you know how that is? I get all anxious and i don’t know what to start on first–so i dont’ start anything, or I start all of them, but don’t finish any one and then i get mad and then i get scared again–
last night i went to a ‘lesbian movie night’ with some friends. F and D screened “the botanists daughter” in the common room of their coop. Beautiful beautiful movie. lots of gorgeous scenery and wonderful music and tender love scenes (which make me all twitchy, i had to leave the room sometimes, even though they were pretty chaste, all in all). The movie is about two women in China, one an orphan of a Russian woman and a Chinese man; the other the daughter of a cranky and renowned botanist. They fall in love. It’s based on a true story and it’s pretty damned sad, alright. None of the men can take care of themselves (or each other) without the women, and they take the women for granted and are brutes of one sort or another. Anyhow, it was a sad movie. and then i went to a party, one of my storytelling buddies turned a significant age with a zero behind it, and her husband threw her a big party at a very fancy place.
I can’t find my Fleuvogs. most expensive item of clothing i own and they’re gone. where? dammit. I dressed up for this party and had to wear runners, cause i couldn’t find my wingtips. curses.
Anyhow, there were some people i know from storytelling, and some friends, and that was nice. but there was an open bar. and i used to LOVE open bars, and how often do you come across them these days? not often. It was kind of fun. But then again, it was kind of torture, ’cause i’d spent the day worrying about being messy and how can i fix that? i don’t like living that way, it is keeping me from doing what i want to do, it’s interfering…and T had me thinking about why I might be holding myself back like that, torturing myself, and then there was this sad movie and young lesbians trying to do the best they could, and trying to love each other, and the men sucking the life out of them, and then there was this party in a fancy place and everyone all dressed up and so on and an OPEN BAR. I couldn’t stay very long.
Now, i’m not tempted by alcohol anymore, really. It’s not drinking i have a problem with, now it’s just life. And mostly i have a handle on that, more or less, ’cause i try to stay on top of it, and stay connected to other folks who are staying on top of it, so i can learn from them. But there were all these feelings, anxiety and fear and anger and sorrow and joy and more anxiety– really close to the surface, and thoughts and worries and there is a mouse in my house somewhere, what’s it chewing on now?
Honestly. In this world, this capitalist patriarchy, where the Europeans are an invasive species, and the men are a constant worry and threat to women, and every 15 seconds a girl is genitally mutilated and one in three women are sexually or physically assaulted by men they know, sometimes love, often depend upon for economic security–where war is a constant threat –the old men with too much power and not enough self-respect, control, understanding, I don’t know, they won’t let go, they insist on sending their young out to die, and where there are earthquakes, floods, volcanoes erupting and hurricanes and on and on–
it’s so hard to be human– to see each other, to respect and nurture those tender connections between us–There’s so much trouble and turmoil going on,
and it’s a fucking mouse that sends me over the edge.
This blog post doesn’t have an ending. I’m listening to opera now–Montserrat Caballe. It’ll be okay. Discomfort is good. K said to me today, she said, “this is what it is, we have to sit here, and feel this discomfort. It’s okay. It’s not going to go away, anyhow, unless we let it be here.” Something all Buddhist like that she said. That’s why I used to love open bars. So I wouldn’t have to feel this kind of discomfort. You know what, eh, you can do yoga eight hours a day and never black out. dammit. Ah well. All part of life, this. It’s all part of life. Not such a bad part, either. Keep breathing…