Of Mice and Women


Posted by in March's Magazine

Great intentions fill the months following January. Never is there a time where I have been more inspired to lose weight and exfoliate my way to goddess-like status. Thanks to unsustainable New Year’s resolutions, come the beginning of March I should be at my physical prime, walking with a stride only confidence can fuel. The fruits of my pouring sweat at the gym and unwavering commitment to yoghurt should be easily picked from my newly toned and athletic body. I should be positively radiating with self-empowered confidence and feel like I’d be able to take on the world in heels if I wanted to! With a healthy body comes a healthy mind so when I was told, “you should get a dog. It would be good for you”; I remembered this unashamed cockiness I should be enjoying was actually an unrealised dream. I should be all of the above but as the end of March approaches I am far from it.

This rather acute observation from my laddish 21-year-old brother took me aback. He who notices nothing but Uni, sports, beer and birds, clocked on to an irrational insecurity of mine. [Before you turn away thinking you’re about to be led into the depths of a lonely girl’s psyche only to find out by the end of the article that, drunk on motivational phrases from Oprah’s Twitter feed, she re-establishes her self-confidence and actually believes she can take on the world in heels – you’re not.]

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Matrix of traps

The insightful suggestion came as my brother and I were standing in deathly silence in the hallway of my flat. My body, ever so slightly hunched with tension, was listening with fierce intensity for the noise of mice. A recent infestation has realised one of my greatest fears and since occupied my every thought. Every noise or disturbance is attributed to the sound of an imminent rodent attack. My fears are regularly conveyed to friends, family, colleagues – anyone who will listen, and it was my brother who identified (whether he meant to or not) that the state of anxiety I am experiencing is less the sole cause of mice and more the complete absence of rationale.

I know mice are small and cute and their means of survival is to look for food to take back to their many hundreds of babies so they can make many hundreds more. But they can piss off. I get one unit of solace a day: Hollyoaks and, whilst enjoying a state of wild euphoria at the hint that Nancy might once and for all be written out of the Hollyoaks script, I do not appreciate the shocking sound of a trap making a fatal snap in the kitchen – perfectly timed with Nancy’s surprise reappearance on screen. Not only must I now deal with a squashed and dead mouse but Hollyoaks has failed to purge the cast of its most intensely irritating character.

Clearly, after ridding my flat of any accessible food and setting up a rudimentary matrix of traps, sonar repellants, barricades, steel wool and poison, I was not doing enough to deter the mice. I needed to take a more practical approach. Even though I initially envisioned the ending of this chapter in my life as a hoard of mice feasting on my dead body, I am entirely aware that I am letting these tiny visitors get the better of me. Living alone and not having a knight in shining armour to call upon at a minute’s notice made things a little harder but I definitely do not need a dog to improve my quality of life. Now I was not only fighting a battle with mice, at the age of twenty-four, I was fighting to shed my status as a spinster.

So in a newly invigorated attempt to cleanse my flat of mice I went about the extermination in stages. The first stage was to rationalise the situation. I made myself believe the mice were as afraid of me as I was of them and it was unlikely they would attack me in the night. With that out of the way I was free to embark on the more practical stages of extermination – I needed to determine the wider context of the problem. Stage two was to speak to the neighbours.

Therapy cheaper

Advised by property management to tread carefully when broaching the subject of mice I instead rather clumsily cornered one neighbour in the car park. After a few minutes of awkward sparring and crudely investigative open-ended sentences, I got the dirt. There was a mouse in the flat upstairs. The problem was clearly not mine alone. With this information the third stage was obvious. Hire professionals. Despite a friend suggesting that “therapy would be cheaper”, the reassurance of, “our poison is 10 times stronger than what you’ve put down”, was therapy enough. So I may not be exiting March with the sculpted body I first hoped for, I have instead spared myself – with thanks to my intuitive brother – a life of unbeknownst spinsterhood.

Illustration: Terence Keith – foxtopia.blogspot. com 

 

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