Today, one of my students asked me what happened to me this morning. I told him I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Well, I guess they’ve become so used to me telling them stories about being scared of creatures….lizards, frogs, snakes, mice, and now BEARS since Al had an encounter a couple of weeks ago.
I know I’ve written in an earlier post that these things just seem to happen to me, and I don’t know why. At least the bear kept himself to Al, and I didn’t see him (although I kind of wish I had…that’s pretty cool). I started thinking about one of the incidents with a mouse that could ONLY happen to me!
A few years ago, I worked in a school that was a total dump. It was a private school, that had no one holding them accountable, including on cleanliness and safety. They had a major rodent problem. I kept telling the custodian and my director that there were mice in my classroom. Every morning, I found mouse droppings on the floor, and they had actually chewed a bunch of crayons in the cabinet, also leaving behind droppings in there. The custodian and the director kept responding with, “There’s no mice there.” There were teeth marks in the crayons! Who was chewing them, and then leaving deposits behind? They tried to make me think it was all in my head because they didn’t want to deal with it. Typical for that particular establishment.
So one day, I took the kids to recess, and before I walked out of the building, I felt like something was on the bottom of my foot. I waited to get outside, thinking it was maybe gum, or some food that had been left on the floor in the cafeteria that we had just walked through (again….remember that this place was filthy). We got outside, and the kids took off running to play. I sort of slid my foot along the ground, thinking I was wiping off the “gum.” Then I sat down at a picnic table, and stretched out my legs. At that time, I saw something like a string coming off the bottom of my sandal. I looked more closely, and realized it was a tail! Very, very slowly, I turned my foot, and looked at the bottom of my sandal……… There, on the bottom of my very cute leopard sandals, was a flattened out mouse, stuck on tight!
I thought I was either going to scream, cry, wet my pants, or vomit. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of kids to watch, and if I drew attention to myself, they would all want to see the smashed creature on the bottom of my shoe. It would be a big production, and there would then be screams from the girls, and the boys would want to keep it or maybe even wear it. No, staying calm and inconspicuous would be the best option, even though it took extreme self control.
I slowly stood up, and started walking around the playground, dragging my foot across the grass, as if my foot/leg were partially paralyzed. I guess I was partially paralyzed…with fear! Part of me just wanted to cut off my whole foot. I had to get rid of this thing without the students noticing, so nonchalantly dragging my foot across the playground was a little tricky, and I gave a great performance as a calm person! I was finally able to scrape off the majority of it, and it was time to go back inside.
The rest of the afternoon, I could barely think straight. Fortunately, it was almost time to go home. I drove home as quickly as I could, taking off my shoes as soon as I got in the car. When I pulled into the driveway, I sadly threw away my cute shoes. I just knew I couldn’t keep them. They were permanently contaminated. I mean, what if I went back to work wearing them, and the mouse’s family smelled their loved one on my shoe, and decided to attack? Or taunt? Or gnaw off my foot? No…getting rid of the shoes was my only option.
Guess what? There were mice in that room! It was not all in my head. It was all on the bottom of my shoe!