In my nightmares, I’m never able to scream or call out for help. I’m always paralyzed and voiceless—the call for help or screech of alarm lodged firmly in my throat. I figured that would be the reality as well if I ever found the need to shriek at the top of my lungs in real life.
And being a naturalist-type, I’m not squeamish about critters considered less-than-cute-and-cuddly. I don’t freak out about snakes or spiders. I rather appreciate their contribution to nature. And even rodents have their place in the world.
So in the course of managing our rodent infestation in the toy hauler, we temporarily stowed our food supplies in the truck amidst the other boxes of detritus we had yet to sort from our ill-fated entry into full-time life. We were in damage-control mode. We just had to get the pests out of the trailer, even if it meant they would invade the truck.
One day, still jumpy and sleep-deprived from the battle that raged day and night, we set to assessing the previous night’s damage. I pulled the food bins out of the truck and spread everything out on the generous picnic table at our campsite. I sorted what had been compromised and what hadn’t. There wasn’t much they’d not had their way with.
I crawled into the back of the truck once more to access our project box—the collection of RV bits we had yet to install in the trailer—for some reason I don’t recall. I put the tattered box on the tailgate and jumped down. With a quick heft I grabbed the box and stepped back towards the picnic table.
A furry gray missile launched out of the box and towards my face. I shrieked—a full-on blood curdling scream—while flinging the box away from me. It crashed to the ground, the contents scattering into the gravel, dirt, and weeds of the campsite. It was too late. The mouse landed on my shoulder—and began the charge up my shoulder towards my neck and head.
Without hesitation, I reached up and flung it off with my hand. It nimbly scurried off— right back to the underbelly of the trailer, to my dismay. You can imagine the waves of profanity and rage that consumed me given our struggles and sleep deprivation.
But it turns out I can scream like a six-year-old girl. Who knew? And clearly my fight instinct is intact and healthy.
When I relayed the mouse incident to our RV repairman in Elko a few days later, he said “I would have screamed like a little girl!”
“I did,” I said.