Κυριακή 5 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

An alegory:The true story of my albino mouse


Out of all the pets I ever owned, my beloved Mavroula,half feral,half pet cat, three puppies,four more cats,a canary,half a dozen goldfish,Scarlett,a black Lab mix,and now our two beloved dogs Faethon and Lucy,the pet that I disliked most intensely and never ever bonded with was a white mouse that I bought many years ago for my kids.

It was a white mouse,exactly like the one in the picture above. Except he was an albino mouse. I could tell he was an albino mouse because,unlike the mouse in the pic,he had red,bright red freakin'eyes. I thought that made him special and that's the reason why I picked him from the pet shop in the first place.

The white albino mouse-I keep forgetting the name my kids gave him-used to live in a very big and spacious cage in that pet shop, along with two dozens or so of other mice like him. Life was OK there,plenty of food and drink,the occasional treats,an overall nice environment to live in (all things considered).

Before I bought him,I spent many an idle hour observing the mice through the glass window of that pet shop. I noticed that the mice there could be divided into four distinctive categories:

-The indifferent masses: most of the mice would fall under that category. All they cared about was to eat, drink, sleep and mate,or so it seemed. They differed in hair colour,size or gender but not in temperament.

-The hard workers: some of them,the cleverest apparently,had noticed that if they did all the right things,like  being cute and nice and climb graciously up and down the cage,a number of good things would happen to them: either the pet owner's daughter would come up to them and give them treats-only to her favourite ones of course- or a customer would walk in and pick those cute,hard working ones to take home to,where a nice kid and a little bit more love and treats awaited them. Yes, it was generally accepted in the cage that being a smart and hard working mouse was the way to climb up the ladder of mouse success.

Occasionally a horror story would reach the cage,about an unfortunate one of those cute,hard working ones that was tortured or starved to death by a human, but these stories were soon forgotten or brushed aside as rumours or justified as something that said clever mice brought upon themselves because of their immoral ways and wrongdoings.

-The rebells: those were the most vigorous,strong ones, the fighters among them. They would steer clear of all humans,occasionally biting the unfortunate child that mistook them for friendly mice. Those mice knew there was life outside that fucking cage but they could not prove it to the other two groups,who neither cared nor wished for such a life (what a stupid notion,surviving out on your own in the gutter,instead of being taken care of in a nice,clean,brightly lit cage with lots of stimulation and kindness).

The kind pet owner, in his infinite benevolence, had provided for those mice too. There was a big spinning wheel that those mice could jump onto and run around like mad for hours on end,venting off their anger and frustration at being prisoners. Some of them even claimed that this was sufficient action that could anger the pet owner enough or scare him into setting them free or start being kinder to mice in general.

Sadly,rumor had it that those very same rebellious mice were frequently chosen by the lab testing people who happened to come in every six month or so,looking for a fresh butch of victims to experiment on. All kinds of horrors awaited those rebellious mice who were chosen by virtue of that same vigor and fighting spirit they posssesed. Squealing,squeaking ,biting and frantically thrashing about they were firmly grabbed by the pet owner and off they went into that lab testing place to die for their values.

-The spiritual ones: quiet,clever,highly evolved mice, full of beautiful ideas about the green valleys full of trees laden with all sorts of deliscious nuts and fruit out there. They preached about it all being outside the cage,how mice that were good and clever and nice would end up there as a reward for their being nice,how the pet shop owner or another benevolent pet owner would open up the cage door and transport them there where they'd live happily ever after.

Another subcategory of those mice were the ones that claimed that the cage was a happy,benevolent place,run by a benevolent force that provided abundance,comfort and happiness to every mice,if only they would relax into it and believed in it.The horror stories about mice being experimented on or tortured by cruel,insane owners they brushed aside as the law of attraction proof: you get what you believe,expect and deserve in that cage of ours,nothing more,brother.

Somehow the white albino mouse was different. I could tell he was different because he seemed to belong to neither of the above mentioned groups. He seemed aloof and distant,occupying his place in the cage quietly, observing but somehow uninterested. You could even mistake him for the indifferent masses if it wasnt for his clever,red,viscious in a way,eyes. I picked him and brought him home in a new cage especially bought for him.

He didnt have a plan,I am sure he didnt. All  he knew was that he wanted out of the cage. Which means that he started off by absolutely refusing to make friends with any of us,by refusing to accept his status as a pet,refusing our offers of affection. The occasional treat he accepted,but with the utmost ingratitude and indifference and he rewarded us with his occasional bite,to indicate what he thought of us and our kindness.He knew his status; a prisoner. And he kept doing two things: observing how things worked in the cage and trying to get out. He kept biting with his white little teeth at the bars of his cage,feeling for weak spots,never giving up.

Then one day,many months later,when his cage was left unattended out in the balcony and without the safety lock on the door of his little cage,the white albino mouse pushed open the door of his cage with his teeth and escaped into freedom. A little neighbor girl that happened to be playing around told my sons how she saw a white mouse climbing down the wall as expertly as spiderman and then rushing under a garbagge bin.

He was free. A free mouse.

I dont know what fate awaited him. Eaten by a cat or strangled by a dog,killed by rats,starved himself to death? Nah,I think he was too clever for that.

Regardless of how long or how he lived from then on,one thing remains certain:

He did it his way....

                                                            Love,peace and freedom


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