Thursday, May 22, 2008

In Which I Consider Cats And Reveal Myself To Be Completely Insane

Last night I stayed in. My housemates were out, so I lounged around watching television and eating toast. When I watch television alone I invariably talk to the characters and join in with the dialogue, or (and this particularly applies when viewing something like CSI: Miami) (not that I would watch that, of course, I only ever watch improving documentaries) filling in the sound track with an exaggerated "dun-dun-DUN!" when a discovery is made. (Usually in CSI the discovery has something to do with the striations on the bullet. Not that I would know.)

(Actually my general rule is: the more I have to suspend my disbelief to get into something, the more I enjoy it. I love Charmed, because it is totally implausible that people can look that immaculate all the time, particularly when fighting scary and often laughable monsters. Also I like the peppy lines and girl power. Reality television is my nemesis.)

After a small television marathon which in NO WAY involved crying at Desperate Housewives, I wandered upstairs and plugged my microphone in to do a bit of aimless singing. Record, listen. Re-record, re-listen. Stare at wall. Re-record. Re-listen. Gaze vacantly at floor.

It was then, mid-vacant floor-gaze, that it happened.

A furry little blur whipped scratchily across the floor boards, a pointy tail streaming out behind. Scrape-scrapey-scrape went its tiny little claws of death as it flew behind the desk and out of sight.

I froze. Microphone in hand I stood, nausea washing over me. Then, in a single gravity-defying bound I sprang onto my bed and began to scream. There was nobody around to rush over dramatically and ask me what the matter was, but nevertheless I screamed. I dropped the mic and began a bizarre dance of twisting and writhing, convinced as I was that the mouse had pursued me in my anguished leap, and was now somehow On Me.

I spent at least half a minute engaging in this ridiculous charade before I managed to calm down. Then I immediately remembered the whip-scratchiness and screamed a little more. I then knew I must act or the insanity would no doubt grip me forever.

I looked at the time. Nearly midnight. I needed to call someone about this, but the person I really wanted to call was, I knew, busy. I had a little think, and called my sister, Alex. To my immense relief, she picked up.

"Hi, Laine? Are you ok?"

"No! Well. Yes. I mean, I'm not dead. But! I just! A! Mouse! Saw one! In my room! I don't know what to do! A mouse in my room! I feel like it's on me! Is it on me? Is it? On me?"

There was a pause.

"A mouse?"

"Yes! I know it sounds...well... I know. But it was in my room!"

Another pause, and a barely audible sigh.

"Alright, you're going to have to give me a minute to take this seriously."

Pause. Deep breath.

"OK. What happened?"

We discussed the events, with me taking breaks every so often so I could flip out about a bit of paper touching my foot, or my hair touching my arm, or some air touching my face.

The main source of my panic was the possibility of it somehow getting in my hair, a situation well-documented by the lovely Nutty Cow a while back. Alex told me in soothing tones that a mouse wouldn't want to be in my hair ("there's no food in there, is there?") (answer: probably not) and reassured me that the risk of it "sneaking back in the middle of the night to get me" was fairly unlikely as well. I knew for a fact, however, that if I woke up and it was on me I would die. Literally and completely die. Then it get a load of mouse-pals together and have a big corpse eating party, which would be only partially ruined by the look of abject terror on my cold, dead face.

(Alright, maybe I had been watching CSI.)

After we put the phone down I gingerly edged myself to the side of the bed and reached for my gym trainers. After shaking them to evacuate any refugee mouse families that could be lurking within, I put them on and tied them up tight.

Stamping was, as far as I could see, the only answer. The floorboards in my room have big gaps between them so there was no way of stopping up the holes, so the only tool I had was stamping (the vibrations, I was certain, would intimidate the rodents and assure them that I was not to be toyed with). Around my room I went, crossly moving things and stamping at furniture. At one point I went and got the hoover, although I'm still unsure as to quite what I planned to do with it. There is no way I would be able to get close enough to a mouse to suck it up a hoover spout (possibly not the right word), and even if I could then the noise of it (I imagine it would be a scrabbling, then a whooshing, some squeaking and then a dull thud) would almost certainly send me into a horrified coma.

At one point in my stamping crusade I began to talk to the mice, as if they were characters on a bad American television programme. Telling them to stay under the floorboards, attempting to incite in them a sense of respect for my deep-seated (and, as by now I was beginning to suspect, not hugely rational) fear of their mousey little ways. This went on for a while before I picked up my microphone and hit record.

And that is the story of how the first whole song I have written in about three months came to be about a mouse. I also may or may not have rhymed "mouse" with "house", with flagrant disregard for most of the rules of good lyric-writing.

I really hope that if it is a big hit I won't start receiving demands for royalty payments in the form of huge wheels of cheese. Perhaps I will get a cat.


Anonymous nuttycow said...

Arg! Mouse. Mices. Meece.


I think you did very well in the circumstances.

Am a little disturbed by the possibility that I had food in my hair, leading my little furry friend to dance on my head.

Excellent post :)

3:34 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

No no you wouldn't have had food in your hair. My sister was just trying to navigate around my irrational craziness and find some reason for me not to go mental.

I know you wouldn't keep food in your hair, we are not The Twits.

3:37 pm

Blogger Badass Geek said...

I often hear mice scurrying about in the ceiling where I live. Its a little unsetting, but I'm slowly getting used to it.

4:57 pm

Anonymous Evie said...

Hello Léonie, this is Impish little sister's friend in Paris, Evie...I have faced many issues with regards to unwelcome friends that inhabit areas close to where I sleep since coming here, but have now become comfortable with Mousey, despite knowing that it is almost time to say Goodbye. Impish sister says humane is the way, but due to some social obligations I need to go with death asap, so it is almost time to say adieu. I wish you all the luck in the world with your rodent friend xxx

1:26 am

Blogger Léonie said...

BG - I can imagine getting used to it if they were in the ceiling, provided they weren't drilling through the ceiling and assembling a network of mouse ropes in order to swing down in the night and nest in my hair*. We have mice in other parts of the house (I think most houses in London have them, little scamps), it's just the idea of them in my bedroom, where I spend time being unconscious and therefore unable to run away, that scares me.

Evie - Hello! I have heard a lot about you. I am sad to hear that you are also plagued by those twitchy-nosed little oiks. I can well imagine that SophieImpish would be a hearty advocate for the humane versions of the head-snap mouse-trap, and of course I'm sure everyone would agree that's the kinder option. Sadly, though, sometimes they really just need not to be snoozing on your pillow next to you when you wake up, or playing games with your hairdryer, or using your knicker-drawer as their own personal dressing-up box. Action must be taken.

10:01 am

Blogger Léonie said...

* Everytime I think about them in my hair I have to physically check that there aren't any in there. I am...possibly not normal.

10:02 am

Anonymous Mr Angry said...

This is why guns in the home are a bad idea.

Can you imagine the cost of your plastering bill if you'd had a shotgun immediately to hand?

And what's that wriggling lump on the side of your head?

12:51 pm

Anonymous Dave said...

We had mice that used to take the top off my homebrew. If you put a tray of flour out you can have a look at their footprint size in the morning and check they are not R*ts. I won't say the word in case it freaks you out!

Mouse music by Genesis ...


2:29 pm

Anonymous Dave said...

Have a listen ...

2:31 pm

Blogger Mr Farty said...

What's wrong with keeping food in your hair/beard? Apart from attracting mice?

Which reminds me.

12:46 am

Blogger Clarissa said...

We had a mouse. I thought that was bad. Someone said that if we had one, we had more than one. But we didn't, and he went away very quickly.

I learned that having a mouse is nothing. Try living with rats.

1:54 pm

Blogger Boy said...

My house has what can only be described as an uber-mouse problem. We seem to get a family moving in every few months, we get rid of them by necessary means, then a new family moves in. NOT nice.

And re: not watching CSI: "Insert dramatic horracio statement here" WAOOOOOOOOOOOOW! Dum! Dum dum!

Yeh, you know.

I think you may enjoy Watch now, thank me later!

10:58 am

Blogger Ms Robinson said...

Leonie I had a mouse at Ms R Towers - it didn't reveal itself for the flatmate but only for me. it would come out and dance a bit and then run off. It has since disappeared. I would rather have spiders.

2:51 pm

Blogger Jo Divine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:56 pm

Blogger Awake.At.Night said...

I read this post last night and laughed so much that little tears of delight welled up in my eyes. If there's a novel in you I would gladly buy it.

Personally I think mice are adorable, but I would have had the same freak out over a spider. Ick.

10:34 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Mr Angry - Wriggling lump is one of the most disgusting combinations of words ever. I shall never forgive you. If I had been in possession of a shot gun I would have defintely pretended I was in an episode of CSI.

Dave - Rats are worse. At least in books mice are protrayed as endearing little fellows, who often have wonderful adventures and lifelong friendships. Rats are invariably baddies with yellow teeth and dubious personal hygiene. I am way more scared of rats, and if I had seen one of them scuttle across my floor I would definitely be on life-support somewhere, frozen in horror with one hand across my face and all my hair standing on end.

Mr F - Nothing is wrong with keeping food in your hair/beard. It's a well-underused method of storage. Mr Twit was never short of a cornflake or two, and I respect him for it.

Clarissa - Did you live with rats? Oh God. I am having a panic attack on your behalf.

10:02 am

Blogger Léonie said...

Boy - Ha, that is great. Horatio is a king among men. A ginger fox.

Have you seen this one:

Ms R - I would rather have spiders as well. It's the noise of the mice that really gets me. It would be so much better if they actually danced. I could definitely live with a small troop of burlesque-dancing mice, if they masked the scratching sound of their feet with some little tap shoes.

Jo Divine - How mysterious! I have emailed...

Awake.At.Night - Thank you, that's so lovely! Any novel I attempted would, I am sure, be fairly mouse/music/shoe-based and therefore not that interesting, but I am glad you would read it.

10:23 am

Blogger Awake.At.Night said...

That's settled then - I'm just finishing Shantaram, so let me know when you're done ;)

1:27 am

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Alright sugar.. your sisters friend is right.. if there is one, there are more. But, if you saw that it was quite small w/ a short tail, it's a mouse. If the tail is oh.. 4-5 inches on a small body, you have the R word.. and probably more than that one. I've had them in 2 houses. Please remember, they spread quite the disease.. I would think you'd have laws agains that and could call your landlord about doing something about it. In the states it's required to do something about the pests and not have the tenants deal w/ it. Or so it's supposed to be that way. If you are humane and can deal w/ live traps, that's an option. I wouldn't go w/ poison because they can take it and then go away and die in your walls.. that is THE worst smell ever.. like rotton socks w/ rotten eggs in them. Horrid. Traps are the best tho the sound is enough to induce that coma you were talking about.. but then I say you bat those pretty eyes at a cute boy and have him come help. Good luck my dear! xox

8:24 pm


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