I consider myself a calm, rational person… a Renaissance woman in my own mind. I don’t mind working on my own car and getting some oil or grease up to my elbows. I’ve even rebuilt the carburetor in my lawnmower. I certainly don’t flinch at the sight of the blood and any spider I see is stomped dead in his tracks without the slightest flinch from my eyelids.
Why is it then, that whenever I see a mouse, a primal, high-pitched noise bellows forth from my mouth that I have no control over? It surprises me more than actually seeing the mouse, and I stand there stunned at the very sound of it. It seems to be similar to when the doctor hits your knee with the little hammer and your leg thrusts out. It just happens. For this reason, more than any other, I am sure I am a girl. Certainly there are steadfast anatomical aspects that would seem to cement this fact; but even if nature had given me more appendages, or less, depending on your view, I would know what I was the moment a small gray rodent flashed across the floor in front of me.
In that menacing mouseful moment, I am prehistoric woman. I am standing beside the fire in the cave waiting for my mate to return, club in hand, dragging our dinner behind him. I am no longer in my civilized clothes, but clothed in leopard fur. In short, I embarrass myself.
Not that it’s so bad to be reminded you’re a woman; but it would nice if I squealed instead at the sight of a bouquet of flowers or sighed with satisfaction at the scent of a favorite perfume. Those acts would certainly seem more admirable and much less startling to those around me.
I can’t help but think that the mouse is equally scared by the shrill alarm that goes off whenever he enters the kitchen. Perhaps, I think, he is sure that there is some wire that he’s tripped, or some beam of light he’s broken that sets off the ear-shattering screech. He skids back to into his mouse home breathlessly declaring, “It happened again!”
Of course that doesn’t happen, but I’ve seen enough cartoon mice to know that it could.
After all is said and done, I’ve concluded that the mouse scream is something that God wove carefully through my DNA to remind me that I am of the gentler sex of His creation. I imagine that God, in all His glory, hears the scream in heaven and thinks, “Susan saw a mouse again.” He looks down through space, down through the swirling clouds of earth, down into my kitchen to the lump of humanity standing there. He knows it is the same sound he heard from Ruth as she gathered leftover grain in the field; the same sound he heard from Esther in the dark corner of the king’s palace; the same sound he heard from Mary Magdalene when she sat near a wall with the disciples. He smiles and says, “You will always be my little girl.”
I smile too. I am not embarrassed anymore.