It happened last night. The battle was long and fierce, and I feel sorry for the mouse. But mostly, I’m glad it’s dead.
I blogged a couple weeks ago about how this mouse ran past me early morning while I was trying to meditate. I just saw a dark blur, but I was completely freaked out. Of course, as I wrote, if I were a good Buddhist, not only would the mouse not disrupt my meditation, but I’d never wish it dead. Buddhists don’t even kill mosquitoes. But instead I screamed for my husband. So then there’s also the issue that I’m a feminist. If anyone is going to kill the mouse, it should be me, right?
But the great thing about my husband is that while I sit there intellectualizing in angsty moral dilemmas, he does things. He goes out and buys traps and sets them. For days the traps went off, the bait eaten, but no mouse was caught. Then last night my husband leaped out of bed and I heard SMACK SMACK SMACK. Silence and then several more smacks. A few minutes later, my husband came back upstairs, and got back in bed. “Who won?” I asked.
“I did,” he said.
He told me it was the biggest mouse he’d ever seen, so big he thought it was a rat. That was why it didn’t get stuck in the trap. “Mysteries were explained,” he said, “once I saw its size. It all makes sense now.”
He told me the mouse was flapping around with the trap stuck to its tail so he swatted it with the broom. But when he got the broom out of the closet, the mouse flapped into the closet. When he smacked at it, the mouse ran past him and down the stairs. Those were the mouse’s last steps.
This morning, while I was meditating, I felt so calm, not freaked out about the mouse coming. I felt so grateful to my husband for getting rid of it. I felt happy to be married and to have a husband who would get up in the middle of the night to go after a mouse.
Several years ago, I read an anthology that I loved called The Bitch in the House. The editor, Cathi Hanauer, wrote about her husband, then boyfriend, who refused to come over to her house when she wanted him to come kill a mouse. (I think it was a mouse, it may have been some other scary invader like an enormous spider.) Basically her future husband, who I believe is Daniel Jones, the editor if the New York Times “Modern Love” column, told her that he respected her enough to know she could take care of herself.
I completely understand that way of thinking. I do. But I am so happy my husband doesn’t practice it. My husband is never going to get in a discussion with me, if he can help it, about gender roles and mouse killing. My husband doesn’t use words like “heteronormative” or “ocularcentric.” He didn’t study feminist theory in school. He just gets it.
On our first official date, we went to a cafe with a huge magazine rack. I showed him a piece in Bust Magazine about a movement I’d started to make the word “pussy” a compliment instead of an insult. He was one of the first people who just understood what I was saying without me explaining it to him. He didn’t even think it was weird.
This from a guy who in so many ways is such a boy. He won’t walk by a dog on the street without talking to it. He can’t let a ball go by him without sticking out his arm and catching it. He’s a jock. He played sports at college level. He plays drums. He works outside. He builds stuff, paints our house, fixes things, and drives a truck. But still, he gets it. How did he get to be that way?
I think it’s his mom. She’s incredibly smart– she was a double math/ English major at UC Berkeley. When my husband’s father died, she raised seven kids on her own. She became a successful businesswoman and supported her family. Not only that, she’s an amazing cook. She bakes the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. She also taught her son to open doors for the ladies. He always calls me Beautiful like it’s my name. Thank you mother-in-law.