This Wednesday, after my morning exercises, I lay in bed listening to the Inauguration Ceremony. As Biden finished his oath and was no longer President-elect but President-in-fact, I felt lighter. The physical sensation was immensely pleasurable. Well being washed over me, perhaps less at the prospect of what might be accomplished than at the thought of what was being prevented.
No one can single-handedly mend all of the nation’s broken crockery, so cavalierly smashed and strewn about in the last four years, but the address which followed was one of hopeful encouragement and reasonable aspiration. It included a turn of phrase I heard my mother employ many times – the one about not judging another soul until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.
Readers will know that whimsy and I are no strangers, but on this occasion, my mind went to a very strange place indeed – the invader mouse who has taxed my patience for weeks. Would my attitude change were I able to imagine myself in the shoes of this minuscule creature?
Such wee footwear cannot, of course, exist. Its presence would only impede the resourceful rodent’s scramble up the towel I use to protect the gloss of the wooden chest next to my rocker. The cumbersome gunboats of Mickey Mouse would send him skidding and careening to the floor. No, only a mouse’s claws enable him to scuttle effectively. Cover them with even the latest Gucci’s (sized minus 100 AAAAAAA), and our hero, or villain, is instantly emouseculated.
When I swim, I try to be the fish. Could I now, mentally, be the mouse? Shorn of other diversions, I made the attempt. The concept of indoors or outdoors is a bit rarefied for a mouse, but as the weather turned cold, a momentarily open kitchen door must have exuded a beckoning warmth. Once inside, my mouse probably sought some cozy, dark, underneathness and went to sleep.
Several readers assume that he is Timmy junior, or Timmy II, and have asked for further misadventures. I hadn’t named him, but so be it. Like my brother, Timmy jr. is nocturnal and subsists on a simple diet. Just where he finds his nourishment is a puzzle – perhaps ancient crumbs fallen behind a sofa? I provide nothing for his repasts; yet he remains the picture of health.
Some instinct warns him not to linger in the open. He darts, even when unaware of my presence. Most of the time, to Timmy 2, I suspect I’m merely one more gigantic piece in this forest of furniture and appliances. Consider his horror then, the other day, when he crawled up the towel and hoisted himself onto the surface of the chest. I dine there while watching television, and perhaps lingering aromas goad him to explore. His olfactory abilities are likely keener than mine. Slowly, this hulking object (moi) turns and exhibits eyes.
Eyes are eyes. There’s no mistaking them. No thing remains inanimate once eyes are involved. I know I’d feel abject terror if a skyscraper or a sequoia suddenly opened enormous eyes to stare at me. I made no movement, though I may have begun to smile. He fled.
I gave the matter some thought. Timmy is not harming me, nor even inconveniencing me really. There are no guests for him to startle or send screaming. It’s just the two of us. I’ve decided, unilaterally, to cease hostilities and, at least until spring, to coexist with him peacefully.
This one’s for you, Will.