“There’s a rat … in the basement!”
Those words came in a shrill of desperation and panic from a very worried woman.
Did I say “worried”? … Nope. Not a good term… Terrified. Terrified is a better term so let’s go with that.
That person was my mother.
She hates mice, and anything that resembles a mouse. That includes hamsters, guinea pigs, weasels and you guessed it… rats.
Personally, I don’t know how a weasel looks like a mouse, but in her mind it does, so she hates them. And for this reason I was not allowed to have any pets that fell into her list of animals or rodents that would trigger fears of mass population and overall destruction of the house that she lived in.
So anyway, when she found out there was a “rat” in the basement it was up to my dad to eradicate the pest from her dwelling place. She even started talk of moving to a house that didn’t have rats, which immediately lit a fire under my dad because he hates moving more than any other activity known to mankind.
However, the thing about having to eradicate a varmint of small proportions from your basement is that you have to find the creature first. And that takes patience and cunning because to capture the creature you have to hunt for it, and while hunting for it, you have to begin to think like it thinks.
Normally if you can find the trail of waste product that it leaves behind, you can eventually find its nest.
Once the trail and nest are located, you can then lay traps for it to kill or capture it.
The process isn’t as tedious as I make it sound, but it does take time. However, when you’re in a state of mental worry and panic, patience is not something you have a lot of. If you don’t believe me, just ask my mother.
She didn’t sleep until she knew that “rat” was exterminated from the premises.
She wouldn’t step foot in the basement until she had solid proof that my dad had accomplished the task for which she married him. And even when the all-clear was given, and my dad revealed his trophy of a deceased and decaying mongrel, my mother wasn’t satisfied.
She wasn’t satisfied until the basement was cleaned from corner to corner of every possible “rat-like” remnant. There could be no trace of the deceased or its where-a-bouts.
That was twenty years ago.
Fast forward to today and the memory of that “rat” still haunts her. She hates the thought of it…hates the idea of it and even complains every once in a great while that there is a family of “rats” still living in her basement. Of which my dad assures her is an impossibility because he cleans the basement every year with the ferocity of a million clean-freak maids who just took adrenaline shots.
The point here is that our fears can always get the best of us, unless we tame those fears so they don’t control our every thought. The only way to do that is to challenge yourself to face those fears and work towards changing your thought process towards said fears.
If you haven’t or can’t do that, you’ll end up living every day with the idea that your fears are always waiting in the shadows to pounce on you when you least expect it.
Like yesterday when this little guy scurried out from under a piece of furniture in my apartment:
I didn’t sleep well last night thinking that his family was lurking somewhere in the walls just waiting to spring forth in vengeance after I took the life of one of their loved ones, so I had to spray poison everywhere until I was positive that none would be allowed to live.
I still didn’t sleep well…
Fears are a very pathetic thing.