I have two sets of room mates, the inanimate ones like my printer and treadmill and the animate ones like Mike and the mice that seem to enjoy the coat closet. Each follows their own set of graces but recently the activities of the mice has raised alarm. Normally, they scurry around. Sometimes, they traverse slowly the living room floor as I imagine one would cross an unstable ice shelf, slowly until given reason to run. They don’t seem to consume my food nor poop anywhere conspicuous so I’ve ignored them until last week.

A mouse was on the counter top (which was new) and I managed to trap it in a flower vase and drop it in a lot two blocks away. The next day, I saw another mouse on the countertop and this one, faster than his friend, leaped onto the surface of the range (it was off) and dashed up the oven vent into the oven proper. This cannot stand. In my own house, I must be able to arbitrarily activate my oven without trepidation. The idea of having a toasted member of Mus musculus trigger the smoke alarms in short order will trigger nightmares. So, I put out non-lethal traps.

They’re pretty straight forward. A clear-topped steel box into which one puts some food is reachable via spring-supported ramps. Once the mouse crosses the ramp, the door closes behind them. Splendid. But I have Philadelphia public school mice. They are incapable of using it. Tonight, I saw two mice on two separate occasions approach the trap, sniff at it. Enter the one-way entrance and not quite make it through. You can call them clever but I think them fools. I will be rid of them one way or another and may choose less non-lethal options next.

I wonder if this is what conquering colonial powers feel like. “Just integrate and follow rules and everything would be fine. But you don’t so we have to put heads on pikes”. Is there another way for us to come to terms? Am I missing something? Am I letting my values override theirs? They carry toxoplasma gondii which is categorically an unwelcome guests.

Please mice, embrace the cracker and learn to use doors so we may live together in peace.