Monday, May 26, 2008

The Non-Confrontational Portion of My Personality

Before I got married, my sister came out to visit me. For some reason, we were staying at Eric's apartment, and he wasn't there. I have no idea where he was. Anyway, Jana and I called in an order to the Mexican restaurant a couple of miles away for 7 layer dip. We went down, picked up our dinner and returned to the apartment, where we discovered that the restaurant had forgotten to include the chips with our dip. We called the restaurant, informed them of the oversight, and stormed back down, swearing and wondering what we were going to be given, free of charge, to make up for our trouble. Upon entering the establishment and letting the girl at the register know who we were and what we were there for, this ditzy blond thing says, Oh, yes, I'll get your chips. She comes back out, hands us the bag of chips, then says, I'm so glad you came back because I actually charged you wrong the first time. You actually owe another $1.40. We kind of stood there like waiting for Candid Camera or something. No one popped out, laughing, from behind a plant, so we meekly handed over the money, took our chips and left, whereupon we cursed like our brother after a summer of fire-fighting in the mountains the whole way back to the apartment. I think we were so stunned, we just paid the money and left.

I've wondered since then, from time to time, why I've got such a non-confrontational gene in my personality, where it came from, and when it would possibly be going away and I would learn to stand up for myself.

The pest people came back on Thursday to pick up the two dead mouse bodies that the other guy had caught using this amazing invention called BAIT in the traps that had sat there, unused, for the past six weeks. This other new guy comes to the door. I tell him that I'm pretty sure we caught at least one mouse and that it's under the sink, but that I need him to check the other traps behind the sink in the cubby hole thing. He asks me how does he get back there. Well, you have to stick your head FAR under the sink through that hole in the back. He looks sort of puzzled. Then he asks me if I have a flashlight because he didn't bring one. I hand him a flashlight. He opens the cabinet and says that, yes, I did catch at least one mouse. He HOPEFULLY managed to cram his head back through the hole under the sink with MY FLASHLIGHT and tells me those traps are fine. While he's performing this task, I mention that the first guy who set the traps didn't put bait in the traps. Go figure. Oh, that's normal, he says. Mice run along next to walls, so you don't need to bait the traps since they don't look at them anyway. As they run along, they run over the trap and get caught. Again, I'm sort of stunned at how my experience with mice has vastly differed from this little nugget of information he has just bestowed upon me.

He then heads out to the garage to check those traps and, yes, I've caught another mouse in one of them out there. He then asks me if I have a plastic bag. I give him one of the precious plastic grocery bags I save for cat litter, again mildly stunned they don't have some sort of special equipment for this. I tell him that I do want the traps reset after he's removed the bodies. He finishes up, hands me the call sheet for my records and leaves. At this point, I sit and ponder his visit. Part of me is so happy that the bodies are taken care of before they started to smell, that I'm initially not too disturbed that when he reset the traps, he followed his bait-isn't-needed format. Then I had a scary thought that since he hadn't brought any of his own equipment, would he be lazy enough to actually dispose of the bodies in my kitchen garbage? I race in to check it out. No, I dodged that bullet. Then I consoled myself with the thought that the first two mice I caught probably went to eat the bait that was there, snapped the trap before consuming much, and died before finishing, hopefully, so that there must still be SOME bait left in the traps.

Since that visit, I've kicked myself up one side and down the other, wondering why I just couldn't open my mouth and request that he use BAIT when he resets the traps. I also thought, Man, I should call that place and let them know about this guy. But no, I just tell myself there is enough leftover bait and that the mouse that had been living here was now gone, so it would be fine. None of the other traps have been tripped, and I KNOW they were baited, so it's probably okay. It just makes me hate myself a little. And it totally reminds me of the chip incident, another memory I can laugh at now, but still totally makes me cringe to remember it. Maybe some day I'll finally grow the cajones to say, Um, excuse me, Gene (he looked like a Gene) but I'm going to need you to haul your chubby redheaded ass out to your truck, get a tube of bait, and bring said bait into my house and USE IT on my mouse traps. Thank you very much.

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