Friday, May 26, 2006

Rainy Days and Baby Mice Always Get Me Down

After a mid-week high due to my rocking the house at the Jeopardy! tryouts (I don't know exactly how I did or when they'll call, but I feel very good about it), I've had a bit of a sink. I've been slammed at work because a bunch of people flaked on their assignments, which is annoying. A very good friend at work who I trusted with a confidence went off and shared some private information with some very gossipy people, which is fairly infuriating. I pinched a nerve in my neck while I slept, which is painful. My damn phone won't work for no good reason and I have to stay home tomorrow for the phone guy, which is maddening. And, if you haven't guessed, I'm having big time female issues that make be hyper-emotional at everything. I bawled my damn eyes out over the stupid Friends finale rerun last night. And I don't even like Friends.

So in this terribly self-pitying state I tried to buck up and go to happy hour, and flirted with a nicely built young man who late in the evening decided to mention he had a girlfriend, which got me terribly cranky. Revelry finsihed for the evening, I was walking home in defeat with my eyes cast on the ground when something caught my eye.

In the middle of the sidewalk was a tiny, shaking, almost unrecognizable baby mouse, drenched from a recent rain. It wasn't a newborn -- it had fur and its eyes were open -- but it was very tiny and very scared. People were walking all around it and disaster was imminent. I stood over it and waited for people to pass before I crouched down for a better look. He was uninjured, but barely moving. Even when I prodded him with a stick he only took a few little baby steps. I ushered him to the side of the sidewalk, and into some landscaping mulch. He seemed to like that, and kind of stood up to sniff the air, but he was a little too wobbly and fell back. He didn't try to run away, but just sat there.

So there I was with nothing to carry him in if I wanted to, and there he was, shivering in the mulch. I didn't know what to do. I felt bad leaving him there, but I couldn't take him with me. Where would I keep him? How would I feed him? Wouldn't Tippy eat him? I must have looked absolutely stricken, because a nice lady came up and asked me what was wrong. I blubbered something about a baby mouse and not knowing what to do, and she looked at me a little bit sideways, and told me the best thing to do was leave it, and then she walked away. After a bit more hemming and hawing, I realized there wasn't much I could do, so I covered him with a big leaf and went home.

A normal person would have made her dinner, put on VH1 and forgotten about it. But I'm me. And I'm crazy hormonal. So I started bloody weeping about the stupid mouse. What if he needed medical assistance? Mice don't just sit there like that. Oh God, it's supposed to storm tonight! I didn't put him undercover -- just a stupid leaf in the middle of the mulch. He'll be drowned! At this point I even started looking up caring for baby mice. How hard could it be? It turns out, hard enough to merit veterinary attention. But that would be crazy. No sane person calls a 24-hour vet about a damn wild city mouse.

I asked the nice man who answered at the vet's office if they treated mice. He said no, and I was about to give up when he pressed me for what I needed. I told him, hoping he'd call me a nutjob and let that be the end of it. But no, dammit, he was helpful, and told me a vet in Alexandria kept late hours, treated mice, and was Metro accessible. He even gave me the number. I hung up.

So now, my dilemma is that I realize I have totally crossed over into Looneyville, and yet I feel obligated to a goddam mouse four blocks away in the mulch. It's still relatively early for a Friday night. It has now been two hours since I left the mouse. I sigh. Okay, I say to no one in particular, I'll take a shoebox, go take a walk, and if the fucking mouse is still there, I'll do what needs to be done. If not, it was never meant to be.

Off I go like a freak into the muggy night with a dadgum shoebox. At the halfway point, I remember the imminent storm and that I have forgotten an umbrella. I resolve to just get the damn thing overwith. It can't possibly still be there. It's dark now anyway, I think, I'll never find -- sonofabitch.

There's Baby, sitting by the big leaf, right where I left him. I scoop him into the box. Okay. Now I've got me a mouse. Time to call the vet.

"Emergency vet services..."

"Yeah. I've just found a baby mouse..."


"Can I bring him in and have him looked at?"

"Well, you can, but if he's wild, his mother's probably nearby. The mothers sometimes leave them for up to twelve hours."


"You serious?"


"I can just put him back?"


"That's okay?"

Pause. "Yes."

"Can I at least move him in case it rains?"

Pause. Pause. "Sure."

I hang up. I am a tool.

I open the box and Baby's chillin' in the corner. I have to admit, he's wicked cute. "'Kay Baby," I say, because at this point, talking to the mouse is perfectly reasonable. "Don't say no one ever cared." I place him under some hedges, out of the rain, and just for good measure, hide him behind the big leaf.

I start home. A lot of fucking good that did, I think. It was fine all the time. It probably won't even rain. I bet it's not even a baby mouse. It's probably a baby rat. I just wasted three good hours fretting about vermin-to-be. I am awesome.

Just as I get to my block, a big fat raindrop hits my glasses. Then another. Then it pours down in a torrential downpour. I am drenched. Baby, I'm sure, is fine. Good deed done. To think on it further, like, I dunno, go back tomorrow and make sure he's not still there, would be completely and utterly cuckoo.

I'll let you know if I find him.