Monday, September 17, 2007

Here I go again on my own...

There is a song for everything that happens in my life, and for some reason today it is Whitesnakes rock ballad of the moment we all face, walking the road of life without mommy or daddy to lean on. As I ponder the bills in my mail, the ones on the way, and the ones on the way to being on the way, I wonder how it will all get paid, how it will all get done.

I am sick today. Not so sick that I can't move, but so sick I can't really hack another day of the less than rewarding job that I have discovered through various calculations, I am paid less than $20/hour to do. So, it is some web surfing, some reading and some napping for me. It's lucky for me that I have such a job really. I promote gratitude at all times, but sometimes it takes a bit of work. Here is how I did it today.

1. I went to work,and upon arriving decided that my impulse to call in sick was a good one, and by 9:30 I marched myself our the door.

2. I saved a mouse. I am with the general public on the disgustingness of having mouse poop on the kitchen counter. I am not however, into the glue trap. And as I walked home, feeling woozy and vaguely sorry for myself, I spotted a little grey furry guy stuck awkwardly to one such trap--the side of his faceplastered to it, his legs awkwardly crushed beneath him as if he had tripped and found himself stuck to it. He was wiggling frantically, and I weighed all the things I had to do in my apartment upstairs--eat, go to the bathroom, email the office, call my boyfriend and sister--when it suddenly occurred to me--What am I doing thinking about the mundane when death is on the line? How would I feel if I was trying to wiggle myself free, facing starvation or cardiac arrest from my panic and a passerby said, "Hmmm, I could save you, but you know I really need to call in to the office"?

So, I made a plan, mentally tallied the inventory I would need to successfully proceed with the rescue mission. I didn't want to touch the mouse--ew, germs! I would need a pair of rubber gloves, some kind of oil (olive or baby) to neutralize the adhesive, and maybe some alcohol to douse my hands after removing the rubber gloves.

I did stop to go to the bathroom, as I wanted to devote my full attention to the rescue mission. I left the apartment, all rescue apparatus in a tote bag, and scurried up the street to the spot I had last seen the mouse. But, alas, it was gone and for a moment my shoulders fell in lost hope as the thought occurred to me that I was too late to make a difference in the poor rodent's life. Then I deducted that if I were the callous person that put out a sticky trap in the first place (please my friends if you want to kill mice, poison them, use the evil traps that sometimes get your fingers) would I be kind enough to kill the mouse (by method of drowning or crushing) before disposing of him? No, I think if I were that person, I would just throw the mouse away.

Sure enough, on the corner by the apartment building of the first sighting of the awkwardly squirming mouse, in the garbage can, beneath some brush, was the trap and mouse still struggling pathethically to let himself free.

As I reached into the garbage can with my rubber gloves, I looked up and down the street to see if anyone would spot me. What was I afraid of? 1) seeing someone I knew and having to wave at them with my other hand in the garbage can--how would I explain that? and/or 2) being spotted by someone anti-rodent who knew that I was on a rescue mission, who would lecture me on the filthiness of rodents and how I did the neighborhood a disservice by setting this one free. But there was no one I knew and generally speaking people don't care what you do as long as you a) have clothes on, b) are quiet, and c) don't have a gun.

So, mouse in hand, I walked up the street with him half hidden behind my leg. I ran as quickly as I could without causing alarm, and brought him (or maybe it was a her) to the edge of the pond in the park near where I live. I held the trap out with two fingers as far from my body as I could get and pulled a bottle of baby oil from my bag with my other hand. I doused the poor guy in the stuff and watch him nearly sigh with relief, as the wiggling began to make a difference and his leg began to pull free.

As he lay panting in the grass, free from the trap, I caught a glimpse of his eyes in his oil drenched head. He was clearly in shock, and in fact his eyes seemed frozen over by cataracts and bulging like a looney toon. I gave him an unnecessary pet to soothe him and wondered if he would survive. Or would he cower in his shock until starvation overtook him? Or might he die of baby oil poisoning? I deducted that either way, my sitting there rubbing his tiny head with my rubber-gloved finger probably would not prevent either fate. So I left him, telling myself that I would come back and check for his tiny carcus, bury him if necessary.

It was a small deed, but it made me feel better than 40 hours of work slaving to keep an overpriced MFA program afloat. I love the students I work for. They are a gracious, lovely lot, but to continue to work in a place where my impact pales in comparison to the mere rescuing of a mouse seems like rolling a big rock up a hill. I am not cut out for this work. I believe in art and in creativity and its power to save. I just don't know if the MFA is saving anyone. It is a moral dilema for me.

So, you ask, where does Whitesnake come in? Well, the Ivy League Art School has been my home. Sure, in my proverbial family, my father beats me, my mother commits verbal violence, and my siblings get a lot more attention and love than me, but still it is home, and if I leave maybe I will just end up married to some alcoholic who sleeps around. Maybe it is not even better out there. But I think I will have to find out. I have graduated and it is time to leave the nest.



Here I go again on my own,
going down the only road I've ever known.
Like a twister I was born to walk alone,
but I've made up my mind.
I ain't wastin' no more time.
Here I go again....



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