Have you ever realised that you are not the person you thought you were? Well, although I’d been having an inkling over the past few years, today was the final thump as I realised that I was not the Amazon that I thought I was, but actually a bit of a wuss.
We’ve been having some scuttling going on in our cupboard and something has been snaffling our cashew nuts, nibbling a corner on each of my buy-four-get-one-free bags. I did the usual thing, cursed the devil, nearly took my finger off with a trap, scrubbed out the cupboard and then cheered as I heard a SNAP late that night.
Then the little blighter was back (or at least one like him)… But this time, it seemed that his big brother had come with him. It wasn’t just my new stash of cashew nuts that copped it, it was every bag of flour, every packet of pasta, every pack of those rice noodle things that have been sitting there for three years that no-one knows what to do with. He’d even eaten through my clever device that was supposed to stop the little sods making it through into the back of the cupboard in the first place.
So, it was back to the same routine: cursing, scrubbing out, putting packets up high, feeling relieved to chuck the rice noodles out legitimately. The trap went back down in my clever place down the side of the washing machine and then it was time to wait.
In the meantime, Huw came home and made little sad noises about mice being people too, and why couldn’t I just get a humane trap and then pop the little fellow across a river and let him play in the grass for ever n ever.
He was right. I was a shit. Why kill the little critter, when I could just get him to move house? So I went back to the washing machine – but it was too late. The trap was not just full, it had moved: it must have been a beast… I thought about it all night, that poor little sod lying there amongst the fluff, whose last supper had been rice noodles, whilst I was in my nice cosy bed with a belly full of pizza. I made a few mouse-related humane decisions…
However, before I could put my bit-of-chocolate-cake-into-a-humane-trap decisions into action, I still had to get rid of my rice-noodle eater. The next day I zipped my coat up to the throat, put some boots on and started inching the washing machine forward, peeping behind with each wriggle in order to locate what had, by that time, turned into a thing the size of a badger in my mind.
Luckily, there was a knock on the door. Great, reinforcements, I thought. “Just in time,” I said to my mate as she walked in, “you can help me get that out of here.”
So, I the ex-Amazonian, watched as she picked up the washing machine and tossed it lightly out of the way. The she reached into all the fluff, rice crispies and mouse shit and picked up the critter –not the trap, note, but the stiff critter – and said, “This thing? It ain’t no mouse – it’s a rat, by the way,” and started to walk towards me.
Having three brothers, I assumed that she was surely going to stuff it down my back and I ran out into the garden squealing a little and hid behind a car. It was at that point as I crouched there, trying to explain that I wasn’t really afraid, that I realised that I was no longer a woman to contend with, I was a bit nesh and quite a bit feeble.
The reason that this has such an effect on me isn’t so much that I’ve got flippin’ rats scuttling around my kitchen, it’s more that I now have to reinvent myself. Sadly it’s not so much in the Madonna way, in that each time I do so, I hook another few million dollars, it’s more of the thing that if I’m no longer the brave strong Amazon, what am I?
Answers on a postcard please.