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The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Anxiety and the way it toys with one.


The weather’s dropping and it’s getting cooler and even cold outside, which means that once again we have mice in the apartment. Which means once again we have mouse shit everywhere, especially on our counters and, you know, the places where we prepare food. Also, for some reason, on the part of the floor near our bed where pillows slip off the bed and land. Which is totally awesome. Lose a pillow at night and it’s gone forever, tainted by mouse poop. Yes, we sweep the mouse poop up. The mice keep shitting. We’ve put out poison, but there’s a limit to where we can put it and any traps because we have a verrrry inquisitive toddler who picks up everything, examines it, and puts it in his mouth. Can you see why we want to limit the use of poison and snap traps both? I’m pretty pissed at mice right now, and can’t even comprehend people keeping rodents as pets. Seriously. Shit. Everywhere. Every place. We’ve been working for months on accumulating vermin proof containers and putting our dry goods in them, but we still have some stuff that the mice can get into and ruin and let me just say that we really can’t afford to lose food to rodent damage.

I was helping Niko draw with crayons and paper, in his highchair, when I looked out the window. I thought I saw a very fat and mottled squirrel, but it turned out to be a calico cat who was chasing squirrels around. As I watched, it pounced on something small and dark. I squinted a bit and saw that it was a mouse, and instantly I was cheering the cat on. Because seriously. There is shit everywhere. All over the counters. All over the stove top. We clean it up and the next morning it’s back. And now it’s weird green shit because they’re eating the poison and shitting it out before going off someplace to, hopefully, die. Green poison shit all over my cook top. Disgusting.

This cat was apparently not very hungry because it played with the mouse for a really, really long time. It’d pounce on the mouse, carry it around in its mouth, drop it, sit back, watch it, turn its back on the mouse, the mouse would run, and the cat would flip around and go after it again… or would watch it run off and then, at the last minute, right before the mouse reached a chink in the fence that wouldn’t admit the cat, pounce on it and drag it back. And then drop it. And the mouse would fall on the ground and go limp and pretend to be dead and the cat would watch it and then feign disinterest and the mouse would think it was safe and go scampering off only to find the cat hot on its ass again.

Which is pretty much what living with Anxiety is like. I go about my daily routine, my life, trying to escape this massive THING, this fate or hand of god or bad luck or whatever, and if I relax it comes bashing down and Gets Me. And I’m aware of it, constantly, that there’s something hanging over my head Out To Get Me. So I try to hide, try to go limp, try to play dead, and sometimes I can fool it but I’m constantly tensed and waiting for something bad to happen, something to go wrong, something to strike me down. Every good thing is spent in tense Anxiety waiting for the bad, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I started really identifying with that mouse.

But I still wish they’d all get the hell out of my house and stop shitting everywhere.

(Yes, we’re in the process of caulking and great-stuffing and putting steel wool around places. It’s an old building and we’re finding new mouse holes that weren’t there last autumn when we did the last caulking go-round.)

posted under home, life, midwest, stuff

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