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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, March 30, 2007

When The Rat's Away The Mice Will Play

Earlier this week I was in my classroom, minding my own business (and the business of twenty-one other people, if we're getting technical). A student of mine was in front of the room making an informal presentation. The rest of the class was seated, semi-paying attention to what was going on in front of the class. In other words, it was just like any other Tuesday afternoon.

Suddenly, while sitting behind my desk, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. In fact, move might not be the right word I'm looking for here. Papers move when a breeze comes in from the courtyard. Chairs move as children get up to get a tissue or a drink of water. No, your run of the mill, everyday movement was definitely not what was taking place at this point in time. A better word to describe what I saw something had scurried across the room.

Let's pause for a second here and do a bit of word association, shall we? When you see the word scurry, what pops into mind? If you're thinking of some type, any type of creature, than you would be correct, sir. Now what exactly the creature was I'm still a bit uncertain. I'm going to go with the mouse/rat variety though for 500, Alex.

If I'm being honest, I really don't know the difference between a mouse and a rat. It's like telling the difference between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. They are equally untalented and unnecessary in equal proportions. I feel the same way about rats and mice. I can't see a good reason for any of them to be inside any place I am, ever.

So, I saw the undefined creature quickly scurry across the room. Unfortunately he was going in the wrong direction, not headed for the door, but instead he was making a bee line to the computers near the window. I don't know what the ruling is on this one but can a rat still make a bee line? I'm just checking.

Anywho, all of this happened very quickly. The child was still talking and the kids were still semi paying attention. Of course this left a few kids who caught the expression on my face as I caught the creature in mid scurry. None of the kids, however, saw the creature with their own two eyes.

So one child says to me, "What is it? What did you see?" I was honest and said, "I don't know." Another child asked, "Was it a bug?" I said, "Not exactly."

At this point children jumped out of their seats and on to their desks. Now being that I was the adult in the room I couldn't very well go into red alert status. So I tried to be the kind of adult you have to be once you have kids to impress. I kept myself calm, cool and collected and told them all to get down off of their desks because there was nothing to be afraid of. I told them that "it" was probably more afraid of them then they were of it. All the time I was saying this I was hoping they were buying it. Meanwhile I was wishing I could have climbed atop my desk, too.

After the adult takes hold of the situation, the kids begin to look at you to solve the problem. I know, I still look to my parents to squash a big bug with a shoe and I'm twenty-nine years old. So I called the office in the hopes the janitor would be my surrogate dad, coming in and saving the day. I don't know what I was thinking he was going to do actually. Rats and mice are not exactly know for their settling down and calling any one place a home. My classroom is huge and full of many nooks and crannies, as is the whole school itself. Sure we are the beautiful school by the bay, but even the bay can't keep the mice away.

I called the secretary and confirmed what I thought I saw. She asked me if the children were freaking out and I said yes, though in their defense, they were all handling it pretty well. The sad reality is some of them have probably seen this before while me being the sheltered white girl that I am, had not. Then the secretary told me that the janitor would come up and check out the situation. Of course that never happened.

Eventually most of the kids blocked the incident out and went on with their work. They were actually better at doing this than I was. I propped the door open at one point in the hopes that if he was there he'd blow the joint and I'd get to see the blind mice finally run. After school I spoke to one of the janitors myself and mentioned what had happened. He didn't seem all that surprised as apparently there are a few in our building. So far they had only been seen on the first floor though. I was the first known sighting on the second floor. What an honor, I know. Of course it could be the same dirty rat who just likes to get around. Do rats "get around"? I guess we'll never know.

Where the mouse/rat is remains a mystery to me, along with many other mice related questions. For instance...Have we seen the last of the rat? Is the rat offended because he's really a mouse? and perhaps most importantly, How did Mickey manage to seem so damn cute?



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